Two weeks away from a visit to Malta by Italian football giants Inter and Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) officially launched the event which brings both clubs, as well as Maltese side Gżira United, together for a set of friendlies.
In a press conference, MTA CEO Carlo Micallef said the fact that both Inter and RB Salzburg will be visiting the islands is a boost to Malta’s name.
“In the past few years, the Malta Tourism Authority – under the direction of the Tourism Ministry – has invested a lot in the promotion of our country through sport tourism,” Micallef explained.
“One of the areas we have worked on is bringing international clubs to Malta for training camps and tournaments. In fact, one of the tournaments we organized, was the Visit Malta Women’s Tournament, was the only one to take place in winter during the (COVID-19) Omicron variant –when the rest of the world was stagnant.
“This is one area that besides attracting interest towards our country, is also the perfect platform for promotion through teams like Inter and Salzburg both of whom have enormous fan bases all around the world.
“Because of this visit and the matches they will play, we will be adding to our promotion while entertaining their supporters here in Malta as well.”
Serie A side Inter will be in Malta from December 4-9, undertaking a training camp while facing Gżira United on December 5 and Salzburg, who will be in Malta for a training camp of their own, three days later.
Helmut Amhof, representing FIFA Match Agent Johannes Empl, who facilitated the negotiations, told the press conference that both clubs felt comfortable coming to Malta.
“Without the support of the MTA, the minister and Carlo (Micallef), such an event would not be possible. It was a short-time decision and it was important that we were able to organise this so quickly, even though it is an event that is not easy to put together,” Amhof said.
“I think that now after the visits of Inter and Red Bull Salzburg, they felt very comfortable with the location. We are playing in a small stadium; this is something that happens sometimes due to the lack of availability of the national stadium at this time.
“However, we are optimistic about the teams, the support that will be there for the event.”
Tourism minister Clayton Bartolo showed his appreciation towards all parties involved in an effort he believes is leaving its mark on society.
“The fact that we are close to December and we’ve got a considerable number of tourists here indicated how our plan for tourism in our country is working,” Bartolo said.
“We are working hard to reduce the element of seasonality for our tourism and we are doing this with the help of the MTA.
“We have done this because we felt the need to invest more than ever in areas that would be able to bring in higher quality tourism.”
Bartolo echoed Micallef’s words when referring to how big the two clubs are.
“These two teams have enormous fan bases and once people see that their players were here, this will definitely help up promote our country.
“I have no doubt that this training camp and friendlies will be the start for further investment in this area,” he said.
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