Malta has become the official destination partner for world famous football club Manchester United as part of an agreement which will run for three years.
Speaking at the club’s AON Training Complex in Carrington, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said that this is an agreement with one of the greatest brands in the world. He said that Malta is an aspiring country which is changing and which has a vision for the future; that of becoming the leader destination in the Mediterranean which can cater for the needs of all types of travellers, be it through events, culture, theatre, or sports.
He said that the language of football is one of love, friendship, and some healthy competition, which represents the spirit of Malta.
Speaking about the agreement, which will run for three years, Mizzi said that through it Malta will not only be able to consolidate itself in traditional markets, but will also look to expand to other markets through Manchester United, such as the United States of America or Far East Asian countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea.
He said that the agreement will see Malta be given added visibility, especially through hoardings at Manchester United’s home, Old Trafford. He said that first team players will also be involved in promoting the partnership, while Malta will look to leverage the club’s coverage on social media to extend promotion for the country.
He said that the Manchester United logo will feature on all Malta Tourism Authority documentation, and expressed hope that the agreement would extend far beyond the initial three years.
Shaun Jefferson, Manchester United’s Director of Partnerships, praised the connection that exists between the club and the country, namely through the Manchester United Supporter’s Club in Malta – which is the oldest supporter’s club in the world, having been founded in February 1959.
He said that Visit Malta’s catchphrase ‘More than we can ever tell’ echoes the partnership and how it will proceed.
“Our story and bond with Malta is one we wish to share with our millions of fans around the world because we want our supporters to be able to experience the amazing experiences and culture that your islands have to offer. With the help of Visit Malta we believe that this is now possible”, Jefferson said.
He said that football is an international language, one which will be used by the club to showcase Malta to its 1.1 billion followers across the globe.
“Malta has something for everybody – sunny climate, new adventures, business opportunities; it is a hidden gem that we are immensely proud to be associated with and we’d like to share that with the rest of the world”, Jefferson concluded.
Manchester United legend Bryan Robson, who played with the side for 13 years through the 1980s and 1990s, spoke of his love for Malta as a country – a love born when he met his future wife and found out that her father owned an apartment in Msida. Two holidays followed, and Robson fell in love with the country.
He lauded the island’s beaches and entertainment, but held special praise for the hospitality that the Maltese people had always shown to the British people. He also spoke positively of Malta’s weather, calling the country “a great destination for a holiday”.
First team players Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, and Phil Jones also addressed those present, with Mata saying that while he had never been to Malta, he had heard of the incredible passion for the club that the Maltese had from his teammate David De Gea, who recently travelled to Malta while on international duty with Spain.
He trio all spoke of their desire to visit Malta in the future to enjoy the country’s history and culture, with Mata saying that he would put Malta “on top of his list”, while Jones also said that he would love to visit the country along with his family.
The partnership between the Malta Tourism Authority and Manchester United will start immediately, with the Visit Malta advertisements being displayed on the Old Trafford hoardings from as early as the Red Devils’ next home game on Saturday, when they play Leicester City FC.