The 20th of January will mark the official opening of Valletta 2018 with four mass activities to be held simultaneously in four of the capital city’s main squares.
In an interview with Television Malta, Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman Jason Micallef described the celebration as one that would unite all Maltese and Gozitans, and an opportunity for visitors from other countries to find out more about the history of this unique jewel.
Valletta will be transformed into a city which, in the words of Chairman Jason Micallef, will be worthy of the title of European Culture Capital.
Mr Micallef told tvm.com.mt that with a budget of 47 million euro, the event is expected to generate substantial trade and infrastructural and cultural projects, supporting the creative economy which generates hundreds of jobs. Mr Micallef added that the effect on the economy will be substantial, mentioning that by next year 21 boutique hotels will be operating in the capital city, among them palaces regenerated for this very purpose.
Besides, a number of restoration projects on architectural treasures will be concluded and ‘paraded’ for the occasion; projects like ‘Il-Muża’, an innovative museum of art, which will open its doors for interactive exhibitions in May of next year, as well as what was formerly the Valletta market.
Mr Micallef described the opening of Valletta 2018 on 20 January as a spectacular ceremony and a mass event which will join up four activities being held simultaneously in four different squares – Castille Square, Tritons Square, St John’s Square and St George’s Square.
“The 80,000-strong audience expected to attend this official opening of the European Culture Capital will be able to see different official openings in different squares,” Mr Micallef stated.
Mr Micallef added that the programme of cultural activities will be announced in the coming days, with the first main event being that of 20 January, when the curtain rises on a cultural calendar packed with a variety of artistic events. “There will be culture which will be accessible to everyone… different forms of culture, and Valletta 2018 is part of this legacy… which is why audiences for cultural events have increased…and we have to continue to increase these audiences through more participation by the public.”
Mr Micallef added that some 200 activities are envisaged, among them the Pageant of the Seas in the Grand Harbour in June, and an original musical opera on the Floriana Granaries. Mr Micallef said that activities in connection with Valletta 2018 will also be held in towns and villages in Malta and Gozo.
“400 activities spread throughout the country, some of them National events catering for 30, 50, 70 thousand-strong audiences in Valletta. This is a big challenge, and together with my colleagues over the past four and a half years, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Transport Authority and other public entities in full coordination over months and years, we are confident that every activity will be logistically possible,” Mr Micallef stated.
Asked whether Valletta 2018 will be a chapter which starts and finishes at the end of the year, Mr Micallef said the Valletta 2018 experience is planned for continuation in the minds of all those who would have lived it, and through the national agency culture which will be set up to ensure that the heritage of Valletta 18 will be everlasting.