Senglea, Mosta and Victoria were also shortlisted as Malta’s first capital of culture, a title which was controversially bestowed on Marsa.
Marsa was recommended as the winner by a committee set up to evaluate all received applications.
The decision means that, next year, Marsa will host a programme of activities with a budget allocation of €200,000.
Mayor Josef Azzopardi said the programme will include a grand opening ceremony in the main square next to the Holy Trinity church, a seaside water activity during regatta season and an innovative Christmas Village for December.
A grand opening ceremony in the main square next to the Holy Trinity church
A culture ministry spokesperson said councils were invited to submit an application for the cultural title last December and submissions closed in May.
The call was open to all 68 local councils but the ministry received just 15 submissions.
The names of the 11 other localities were not provided.
The members on the evaluation committee were representatives from Festivals Malta and Valletta Cultural Agency, chaired by a director from the local government division.
The evaluations were tested on a number of criteria, such as inclusion and resident involvement, social and environment impact, artistic and cultural content, programme management and financing.
The initiative of a rotating cultural crown for all towns and villages was a Labour electoral pledge and meant to follow-up on Valletta’s stint as European Capital Culture in 2018.
Culture Minister José Herrera described the locality as a “hidden gem”, saying it is high time the area was regenerated in the same way other harbour areas had been in recent years.
Questions were raised since Herrera contests national elections on the first electoral district, which includes Marsa.
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