28 NOVEMBER 2001

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Viset Plc to develop cruise terminal in four years' time

Viset plc last week signed a lease agreement with the Malta Government for the Sea Passenger Terminal which covers the area extending from Customs House, Valletta to Pinto Stores in Lascaris Wharf. The consortium, composed of M. Demajo Group, AX Holdings, Malta International Airport, FSG Ltd, Bank of Valletta plc, Port Ventures Inc (USA) and Slipform Ltd (Hong Kong), will be aiming to complete this project in four years' time making this part of the Grand Harbour one of the most beautiful attractions in Malta.

This was announced by Viset Chairman, Joe Grioli, during the signing ceremony. “The area will house a new cruise liner terminal, a shopping area, and an entertainment and cultural complex. A water plaza will also provide a spectacular area for outdoor entertainment.”

'The consortium will be investing heavily in the restoration of Pinto Stores and Forni Stores to bring them back to their pristine glory. When completed, this location will surely become one of the most beautiful waterfronts by international standards. Having such a unique architectural backdrop immersed in a historical setting, the project will further enhance the Grand Harbour into one of the most wonderful harbours anywhere in the world.

The project is expected to cost some Lm14 million before it starts operating in full. The investment will be made over a period of three to four years. Particular attention has been given to the phasing of the project so that the least possible disruption will be caused to visiting cruise ships. Most of the heavy work, which is expected to start at the beginning of 2002, will be carried out in the idle months of the cruising period.

When ready, the Sea Passenger Terminal is expected to become a landmark for all tourists visiting Malta and will offer entertainment alternatives also to the Maltese people. It is estimated that some four hundred permanent jobs will be created. The project will enhance the Malta tourism product by offering entertainment and cultural alternatives.

According to Mr Grioli, “Viset project will breathe a new life into what, at the moment is a substandard area. Once completed, the cruise terminal will offer an excellent first impression of Malta to the over 200,000 cruise line passengers who currently visit Malta. It will further stimulate tourism as it shall create a good potential for people to return to Malta as tourists for a longer stay.”

The number of cruise liners visiting Malta has been steadily on the increase. This year about 280-cruise liner entered the Grand Harbour. Spending by cruise liner passengers in Malta is currently estimated at some Lm6 to Lm8 million per annum. This is also expected to grow substantially with shops becoming available in the immediate proximity of cruise ship berths.

Mr Grioli adds “Malta needs this project to enhance the quality of service demanded by the expanding cruise line industry. The number of people preferring cruise holidays has dramatically increased over the last five years and the demand continues to grow as more ships are being deployed in the Mediterranean.”



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt