09 Jul 2020
Bespoke canopies complementing Grand Harbour’s historic environment inaugurated
The months during which Valletta Waterfront was devoid of any business due to COVID-19 served as a time for Valletta Cruise Port to further invest in projects with the aim of further enhancing the appearance of this iconic Maltese destination.
Of note is the inauguration of a €2m investment in bespoke canopy structures respecting the historic fabric of the Valletta Waterfront promenade with its nineteen historical 270-year-old warehouses, built by Grand Master Pinto at the height of Malta’s baroque period where the Knights of St John and European merchants used to unload their wares.
Minister Farrugia Portelli accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Tourism Authority Johann Buttigieg, visited the businesses along the Valletta Waterfront which like other outlets have started operating again in the last weeks with new systems and protocols in place. The Minister praised the way in which the management of the destination has turned a period of downtime into one which further strengthens the same business, whilst further improving the tourism product.
“The determination shown in the situation created by COVID-19 has prompted everyone involved to take up this challenge. A determination which is not new in nature as regards the Valletta Waterfront: suffice to say that since the location passed into the hands of Valletta Cruise Port in 2002, around € 30 million has been invested so that today the destination, together with the fantastic appearance of the Grand Harbour, offers a welcoming first impression to the thousands of tourists who visit us on cruise ships. This €2 million investment will surely have an impact on tourists as soon as they arrive here and find this new look. We hope that we will welcome cruise ship visits again during August,” commented Minister Farrugia Portelli.
The canopy project enhances the atmosphere and comfort of the outdoor areas of this iconic destination. The new structures present an interplay between old and new, between function and context, with positive feedback about the simple lines and lightness that the new canopies afford in the venue’s historical setting, whilst being practical for the everyday activities of a multipurpose destination.
Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding, commented, “Over the last years, together with our projects team, our architects and our catering tenants, we have worked on developing a solution which addresses the practical needs of an outdoor destination, whilst respecting the historic and aesthetic values of our destination. Our focus remains to deliver a quality experience for all our patrons.”
2019 was a record year for the local cruise industry with 900,000 passenger movements and a growth of 27% over the previous year. The cruise industry has been hard-hit by COVID-19 but Valletta Cruise Port is expecting cruise calls starting in the next weeks.