Eden Leisure Group is one of the foremost leisure and hospitality groups in Malta. A partner of international brands like InterContinental and Holiday Inn, it is also active in the cinema, esports and fitness sectors. Simon De Cesare has led the company since 2018, having previously served as Director of Operations. He is also a Council Member of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association and Vice-President of the Malta Business Bureau.

Malta is no longer a summer-only destination. Can you tell us more about this development?

We have been trying for decades to push more business to the shoulder months and the strategy has worked. Conference business brings people all year round now, although not all hotels enjoy this market. Summer is still peak and will always be so. We must continue to push and incentivise more activities in the noncore months to be able to manage the scarce resources we have and provide a good experience to our guests.

As the tourism industry has grown, it has left social and environmental impacts, as well as created challenges in finding adequate human resources. How do you see the industry’s future development in light of these challenges?

We are increasingly recognising that the sustainability aspect of investment, especially in tourism, needs to be addressed. New hotels need new workers. We are unable to attract these workers from the local workforce, so we have to import them, increasing the strain on the power grid, sewage systems and garbage collection. These are all areas under strain due to the growing population and the sheer volume of tourists. It is not a matter of tackling the influx of workers – they are needed. Rather, we need to tackle the source and dissuade investment that is human capital-intensive while incentivising investment that does more with less.

Malta continues to attract interest from some of the biggest names in hospitality, with a number of renowned hotel lines launching or expanding investment in Malta. What impact does this have on the local hospitality offering?

Hotel operators are always happy to open in new locations. The reality is that very few actually invest their own resources and rely on the owner and developer to invest their capital. Arguably, a recognisable name can add to the business case in achieving better rates, but hopefully the new brands also help in raising the quality standards of our hospitality product.

What should any foreign investors in Malta’s tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors keep in mind if they hope to be successful?

Today the market is at capacity. Anyone investing in hotels in Malta must look for the unique selling point, whether in the type of tourism it aims to attract, economies of scale or something else that allows their investment to stand out.

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2024 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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