Today Maltese Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat hosted a meeting with CLIA Europe and Valletta Cruise Port to discuss how to facilitate the continued success of the cruise industry, maximizing the benefits both to Malta and to Europe as a whole.

The audience with the Prime Minister was held in the context of European Maritime Day Conference, which seeks to unlock the potential of Europe's maritime assets and took place in Malta for the first time.

The Maltese Prime Minister, Dr. Joseph Muscat, said: “Malta invested heavily in the cruise industry, creating direct and indirect job opportunities for the island. Throughout recent years, Malta has experienced continuous growth in this sector and the investment is now bearing its fruit. The Maltese government is committed to continue investing in the industry in line with its policy for economic growth.”

The cruise industry, which is acknowledged to be a major driver of growth and jobs, has more than doubled in size in Europe in a decade and now generates over €36 Billion in output a year and employs over 315,000 people. Malta has shared in this success thanks to its strategic location and unique appeal. Between 2006 and 2011 direct cruise expenditure in Malta was estimated at around €372 million.

The discussions with the Prime Minister focused on how the industry could work with the Maltese Government to build on this success and facilitate long-term sustainable growth and job creation.

Robert Ashdown, Secretary General of CLIA Europe, representing the European cruise industry said:

“As the new Secretary General of CLIA Europe I am committed to working with the Port of Valletta and the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Joseph Muscat, to finding ways to maximize the potential of Europe's maritime heritage. We agreed to work together to facilitate the sustainable growth of the cruise industry in Europe, which will boost cruising in the Mediterranean and bring further benefits to Malta.”

The CEO of Valletta Cruise Port, John Portelli, stated that the cruise sector is an important contributor to the Maltese Tourism industry. Between 2000 and 2012, over 5 million passengers transited Valletta Cruise Port.

He added: “These results were possible thanks to the continued support of the Maltese Government, with whom Valletta Cruise port cooperates in a spirit of public private partnership.” He expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat and the Minister of Tourism, Karmenu Vella for their “unfailing support.”

He concluded by expressing his hope that “Valletta Cruise Port and CLIA Europe continue to work closely together in the future.”