Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
Faith tourism transcends conventional sightseeing, evolving into an activity centered on fostering communion, solidarity, and charity. It goes beyond mere observation of religious sites, emphasizing a spiritual connection and shared values among diverse communities.
Initiatives by the Maltese government, and by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) in particular, epitomize this shift by promoting religious tourism through multifaceted programs. Recognizing the transformative power of faith-based travel, the government’s initiatives extend beyond traditional religious events to include sports, weaving a rich tapestry that encourages dialogue, understanding, and charitable endeavors. In Malta, faith tourism becomes a catalyst for unity, where visitors and locals engage in meaningful interactions, fostering a sense of global community.
Thus, VisitMalta and Athletica Vaticana have reaffirmed their partnership in a press conference at the Ministry for Tourism in Valletta. The collaboration, initiated after Pope Francis’ visit to Malta in April 2022, emphasizes inclusion and solidarity, aiming to foster friendship and fraternity across different cultures and religions.
During the event, Athletica Vaticana and Vatican Cycling showcased a bicycle raced in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, expressing gratitude for the partnership with VisitMalta through the Malta Tourism Authority. Notable attendees included Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo, CEO of Malta Tourism Authority Carlo Micallef, and H.E. Frank Zammit, Ambassador of Malta to the Holy See.
Athletica Vaticana, symbolizing Christian values within the Vatican and the Catholic Church, engages with the global sports community through spiritual, supportive, and cultural activities. The auction of the showcased bike will contribute to the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary, a charity foundation within the Vatican assisting and caring for children.
Athletica Vaticana-Vatican Cycling is an official member of the International Cycling Union (UCI). Established in 2017, the association received patronage from the Pontifical Council for Culture, evolving into a diverse community representing various nationalities associated with the Holy See. Recognized in 2019 as the first official sports association of the Vatican, Athletica Vaticana promotes unity through sports.
Rino Alberto Bellapadrona, team manager of Athletica Vaticana, highlighted the organization’s commitment to Pope Francis’ vision of social fraternity in sports. Malta Tourism Authority CEO Carlo Micallef emphasized the importance of partnering with Athletica Vaticana to showcase the Vatican brand and contribute to the community through religious tourism to Malta.
Faith Tourism in Malta
Since the early days of the advent of homo sapiens, the Maltese Islands were considered as prime venues for faith tourism. History and archaeology present unimpeachable evidence that the Neolithic Temples which are even older than the Pyramids of Egypt can cry out and say “Before Abraham was I am.”
The Christian heritage of Malta as expressed in her deep religious 2,000 year-old tradition visibly enshrined in her numerous churches, monasteries and religious art in all its forms make the country a must for the hundreds of thousands who seek an authentic spiritual experience. Faith Tourism is not just about taking selfies in front of chapels and churches: it is participation in religious celebrations, local traditions, retreats, spiritual walks, charity, brotherhood.
These are as important as our shared religious treasures and traditions, and that is how the Maltese tourism authorities are preserving, developing, and offering the Malta faith tourism niche to the world.