Marika Caruana Smith / InterContinental Malta / LinkedIn

Travel is truly at the heart of summer for many people.

Whether it is exploring stunning cities or enjoying the bright sunshine by the sea, it is the perfect period to take some time off and explore what other cultures have to offer.

Like many others, Marika Caruana Smith, Cluster Director of Corporate & Luxury Sales at InterContinental Malta, revels in the time spent abroad, be it for work-related reasons or simply to unwind and relax.

In the latest part of this year’s MaltaCEOs.mt summer interview series, we reached out to Marika to learn more about what locations are on her bucket list this summer, together with the experiences she found most (and least!) enjoyable to date.

Marika has become a notable figure in the local hospitality industry, having gained more than 20 years in the sector. As she leads the way for InterContinental Malta’s corporate and luxury sales department, her schedule tends to be full to the brim, making a trip abroad even more welcome.

Are you a summer person, or do you prefer winter? Why?

Yes, I am very much a summer person! I love the sun, tanning, summer clothes, summer vibes and all the things you can do in the summer season.

Are you looking forward to this summer in particular? Why?

I am looking forward to this summer a lot as I have some summer holidays and trips planned, as well as events and sales trips related to my position as a Cluster Director of Luxury and Corporate Sales.

What’s your favourite thing to do in the summer season? Why?

In summer I enjoy staying by the pool during my off time, barbecuing, relaxing and of course, doing some traveling. Mostly I take the opportunity to relax and spend quality time with my family, although the hospitality business is very busy this summer!

Do you prefer going out or staying inside during the hotter months?

I try to find a balance, as I don’t mind having and attending some summer-dos and networking events, however I love staying home as well.

Will you be going abroad? If yes, where to and why?

Yes, definitely! First one is the Greek islands visiting Santorini, Paros and Athens for my 50th birthday, and then I’m planning a trip which will be a short break combined with a trail marathon, as my partner is a triathlete, so this would be a nice combined short break. Apart from holidays, there are also some sales trips planned during the summer period.

What’s your dream summer destination? Why?

I love travelling and there are still a lot of places on my bucket list. Now that the Greek Islands are ticked off, I still have places like Croatia and Mauritius on my wish list. 

What’s your best holiday experience?

To me, every holiday has its story and memories and I tend to make the most of it when I’m on holiday. However, if I had to single one out, I would say Sardinia for the sun, sea, culinary and summer atmosphere. On another note, even though I love summer and islands, New York is one of my favourites too!

What’s your worst holiday experience?

Actually, if I had to find a bad experience I would mention last year’s sales trip to the Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas where I had a terrible experience due to a storm hitting Vegas. We were diverted to Palm Springs and waited until the storm was over to head back to Las Vegas and it was quite bumpy and passengers were panicking on board. It took me almost 28 hours to get to Las Vegas from Malta, but that still doesn’t scare me from travelling!

Companies are encouraged to invest to stay ahead of the curve. As a business leader, how will you be investing in yourself this summer?

Given our group investments, amongst which includes another hotel, I am giving added focus to studying the opportunities and identifying the market potential while developing a stronger network of contacts locally and internationally to continue to grow our luxury and corporate business.

From recharging your batteries to taking on a huge task – do you have any particular goals for the summer?

We have set ambitious targets which, as always, I will fully commit to ensuring we reach them and possibly even exceed them. Moreover, my focus is always to ensure a positive and memorable experience for our clients and guests. At the end of the day, it is all about connections and building relationships which strengthen loyalty and continuity.

Featured Image:

InterContinental Malta Cluster Director of Corporate & Luxury Sales Marika Caruana Smith / InterContinental Malta

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