First workshop held on town centre management
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The first workshop which will eventually lead to a pilot project which will introduce ‘Town Centre Management’ in three tourism areas in Malta and Gozo was held on Tuesday, and opened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Mario de Marco and the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Dialogue and Information, Chris Said.
The workshop, organised by the Malta Tourism Authority’s Product Development Directorate, was addressed by experts from the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) of the UK, and was attended by a number of stakeholders from the three localities chosen for the pilot project, i.e. Valletta, Paceville (St Julian’s), and Marsalforn (Zebbug, Gozo). Among those who attended were representatives from the respective Local Councils, MHRA, GRTU, MEPA, ADT, Police, VRP, GTA and other local business community representatives.
Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco referred to the importance of the presence of the various stakeholders at the workshop and insisted that the aim is to manage our tourism zones better, involving all stakeholders and ensuring better use of the resources available.
He added that for example in Valletta, there are numerous stakeholders which include the Local Council, residents, shop-owners, shoppers, tourists, employees, restaurant and cafe-owners as well as museums and tourist attractions. Sometimes these have diverging interests, but it is important that through this project, they will work together and have a Manager who will respond to them collectively, thus seeing the larger picture.
Dr de Marco concluded by thanking the ATCM for its expertise and experience as well as all those present who are sharing the vision on making the Pilot project achieve the desired results.
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said stated that the Town Centre Management for Tourism Zones is a project that has at heart the interest of our towns and villages; it is about investing in resources to manage towns on a holistic level to achieve improved localities for all.
He added that, “the concept of ‘locality’ is not just about buildings and boundaries. Today’s session is assisting participants in coming up with new ideas and identify models on how to manage and improve our localities. To take localities forward it is not enough to have a vision, but it should be a shared vision – between national and local authorities, the commercial community, NGOs, residents and other stakeholders.”
Dr Said concluded that in order for this process to work it has to be inclusive and group together all those who have a real interest in the development of these respective towns.
The ATCM’s CEO, Mr Simon Quin, who addressed the workshop, said that there are over 2,000 local councils and municipalities all over Europe who have adopted the ATCM’s model and that he was looking forward on working with the various stakeholders in Malta. He concluded by saying that Town Centre Management does not impose but it helps to synergise resources and efforts so that better results are achieved.