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Two-time Giro D’Italia Winner Talks Cycling Tourism in Malta
Two-time Giro D’Italia Winner explores potential for Cycling Tourism in Malta
Two-time Giro d’Italia Winner and co-founder of EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team Ivan Basso visited Malta and Gozo earlier this Summer, to experience the potential that the Maltese Islands have in becoming a destination that’s ideal for bicycle tourism.
Earlier this year, VisitMalta became the official destination partner of EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team, with branding present on the team’s jerseys and official vehicles having debuted at this year’s Giro D’Italia.
Ivan Basso’s visit was the first opportunity for EOLO-KOMETA to be present in Malta after the announcement last May, and will be paving the way for another visit that is being planned later on this year by the full team, as well as other initiatives that VisitMalta, the Ministry for Tourism and EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team are currently working on to expose cycling as a sport and as a way of life to young enthusiasts.
Ivan Basso and former rider Valerio Agnoli organised a leisure ciclopedalata from St Julian’s to Valletta together with a large group of Maltese cycling enthusiasts.
“It is difficult for me to find the words to describe what I experienced in my week spent in Malta,” Ivan Basso said, adding that together with his family they were “literally enveloped in a unique and special atmosphere of smiles and welcome, of crystal clear sea and history, of good food and sports. I swam in turquoise water, saw wonderful seabed and splendid fish, visited places of art and touched on history and the past. I have biked on paved roads and trails with breathtaking views, gone boating and found flavours I did not know. Here, just an hour’s flight from us, is a paradise to visit but also to experience: a place where you are comfortable because it is impossible to do anything else, a place to spend an unforgettable vacation. In Malta you have a good time with your family, in Malta children of all ages have fun, in Malta there are opportunities and possibilities for sports, in Malta there is life and sound but there is also tranquillity and silence. Rarely had I been sad leaving a place: leaving Malta, this happened to me. And I was left with two things: nostalgia for what I experienced, and the desire to return.”
“Throughout our endeavours, even when considering what we, as an Authority, together with the Ministry for Tourism have outlined in our strategy for the Tourism Sector for the next ten years, we are constantly thinking outside the box to give due visibility to the various niches which make up the versatility of the Maltese Tourism Product. Undoubtedly, Sports Tourism is one of these niches, proving to be a very popular one, among tourists of any demographic. This is exactly what led us to strike this partnership with EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. We look forward to continue working on improving this relationship to continue giving visibility to the VisitMalta brand all over the world, while also hoping to create increased interest in cycling in Malta,” Mr Carlo Micallef, CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority said.
“This partnership between EOLO-KOMETA and VisitMalta is tangible proof of our efforts to exploit emerging and developing tourism segments including sports-related tourism. This historical milestone, which is a first for any European country is generating excellent results in terms of tourism inflows as well as ascertaining Malta’s status as the destination of choice,” concluded Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo.