The IHG Group has evolved into a major player in the hospitality industry in Malta since starting out some 23 years ago. From modest beginnings with a single, 200-bed hotel, Island Hotels Group has become a leading name in the deluxe, five-star hotel sector in Malta, as well as a pioneer of upscale vacation ownership.
Today, Island Hotels incorporates The Coastline Hotel, the Radisson Blu Resort, St Julian's, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands, and vacation ownership company IRC with its brand, Heavenly Collection. Our latest venture, coming on stream in phases from late 2011, is Hal Fehr, a luxury, eco-resort that will bring a new concept in hospitality to market.
IHG is known for its commitment to people - both customers and staff - and its ability to deliver a consistent, quality service and product, as well as be an innovator in its industry. We have managed this balance of growth and traditional values thanks to the entrepreneurial passion and personality of IHG's founding families.
For just over two decades, Island Hotels Group was run as a privately-owned entity, self-financing and drawing on the strengths of its founders. Current Chairman Winston Zahra senior started the forerunner to IHG in the late 1980s and his personal drive and foresight was instrumental in the successful development of the IHG portfolio.
The opening of our five-star resort in Malta's prime 'golden mile', St Julian's, saw us cement a relationship with Radisson Hotels International. Under the luxury brand, we went on to create Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands, which opened its doors in autumn 2005 to host one of Malta's most high-profile and successful events, the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit (CHOGM).
In 2009, we made the transition from family-run firm to publicly-listed business, raising our profile and our potential to invest, strengthen and develop new opportunities. Going public, enabled the Group to diversify its shareholding, bring new members on to the Board, raise capital and take a fresh strategic direction.
In little over a full year as a public company, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of this move, which signals a milestone in our history. IHG is at the forefront of developments in the industry in Malta, as our Hal Fehr project shows. We see further potential in our local market, but increasingly we are looking overseas, particularly in the wider Mediterranean region, to exploit the inherent strengths of our brand by applying core, traditional values to initiatives that are at the cusp of market trends.