Malta has just sneaked into Tripadvisor’s list of Top 10 Southern European hotspots, published yesterday. Tripadvisor, a leading online review site of all things travel and tourism across the world, gave Malta 10th place in a list that includes prestigious, glamorous, glitterati hotspots such as Cinque Terre (Italian Riviera) and Nice.
What’s interesting is that out of the myriad Mediterranean holiday islands, only Santorini makes the list. The Balearic Islands may have been knocked off by this year’s Basque separatist bombings. Then again, how do we second guess Tripadvisor’s rankings? The site may work in wonderous ways like Google search!
The listing is a small accolade for Malta as the country has made a concerted effort in recent years to reposition itself as a place with some caché. The islands now have some upmarket options for travellers – great World Heritage, amazing diving, top notch dining out and a few designer-styled hotels – alongside the bucket, spade, sun, sea and bucket-shop travel they’ve been associated with since the late ’60s.
Malta needs its core, traditional bread and butter tourism sectors, but its increasingly better preserved and presented heritage deem it more than a regular sunny Med destination. Tourists, and Tripadvisor are beginning to see this too.
The country’s general (though gradual) face-lift (roads, street furniture, paving, greening, and attractive open-air public areas) plus its interesting mix of activities to tempt various tourist sectors have helped pull it into the rankings alongside far more manicured and established hotspots.
Long may it sit in listings like these, and hopefully not feature too often in the negative reviews on Tripadvisor, which is a popular place for travellers to mouth off in about destinations’ less positive aspects.
Tripadvisor’s Top 10: Southern European Hotspots (22/09/09)
1. Barcelona, Spain
2. Santorini, Greece
3. Seville, Spain
4. Cinque Terre, Italy
5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
6. Bologna, Italy
7. Nice, France
8. Siena, Italy
9. Lisbon, Portugal
Photo: Alex Grech