Where the experts holiday: Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland at the Malta Tourism Authority

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Peter Vella is the director UK & Ireland at the Malta Tourism Authority and holds a dual nationality with Malta and the UK. Here he shares his favourite destinations and forthcoming trips with Just About Travel readers and reveals why you should visit Malta

 

What do you like to do on holiday?
I love to rent old converted farmhouses in Malta and Gozo to chill out, relax, entertain and soak up the sun. I am also slightly partial to the style of Mediterranean food and wine that you find there. The whole family also look forward to being in the warm clear sea around the islands, and days out scuba diving or swimming in Comino’s Blue Lagoon.

Where did you last go?
Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong. That was quite an experience, especially joining 3400 mainland Chinese people on a six day cruise from Shanghai to Japan. The poolside disco was a real eye opener, with around a couple hundred people dancing Gangnam style. Shanghai and Hong Kong are impressive and culturally very different. Japan was just wonderful.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I celebrate a milestone birthday next summer. I have rented a huge luxury villa in Malta and have a large number of siblings, cousins and their families flying in from around the world for a reunion. I haven’t seen most of my cousins since I was a teenager when we used to spend all summer together in Malta. It should be once in a lifetime experience for all of us.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
That’s a difficult one. I love the Caribbean, but I think that my fondest memory was hiring a houseboat on the Murray River in Australia and spending a few days with family and friends paddling along, stopping at wineries along the way. It was in a remote area of Australian Outback. We would berth up in the middle of nowhere for the night. It was so dark that the stars were amazingly clear and bright, even after a few glasses of wine.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
I haven’t made it to South America yet. I dream of touring remote parts of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and performing the Tango in a village square at sunset. I would also like to explore Patagonia.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
In Malta, the three cities of Birgu, Cospicua and Senglea are ancient, beautiful harbour towns that are often overlooked by tourists. In the UK, it has to be the Welsh Marches, to include Herefordshire and Shropshire as well as Worcestershire. Outstanding English country side, historic old market towns and wonderful pubs.

How do you plan your holiday?
It depends on how complicated it is. The last one was inspired and arranged by an excellent high street travel agent. Contrary to modern thinking, they are still extremely useful. I could not have arranged the whole itinerary without one.

How often do you go away?

We have a family holiday at least once each year. I still have sons at school and university who go away more often than I do. In May, I usually go to Lourdes in France for a week with a group of around 60 disabled or sick people.

Who do you travel with?
My main family holiday is always with my wife Jill, and two sons Sam and Ben. Next year, it is going to be a different thing altogether.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Malta is a wonderful Mediterranean country with a vibrant, unique culture and an astonishing history. It’s a tiny place consisting of three inhabited islands, with a combined land mass which is smaller than the Isle of Wight. First time visitors are usually amazed at what they find – and then return year after year. In 10 years’ time more visitors will be coming from Asia – Pacific and the Americas and promising to return again one day.

 

Aerial of Yacht in Blue Lagoon, off Comino (Malta)

Aerial view of Valletta (Malta)

Crystal Lagoon (Malta)

Valletta Waterfront

Paradise Bay (Malta)

 

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