Touristic Development should go hand in hand with Environmental and Heritage Protection
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Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar said it is pleased to note that the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism has dismissed outright the MTA Chairman’s claim that MTA’s only responsibility is to push the country’s tourism agenda without the need to concern itself with environmental and heritage repercussions.
While recognizing the need to increase touristic investment, especially in areas such as Marsascala which is badly in need of a general upgrade, the environment group said it was dismayed by Malta Tourism Authority Chairman Sam Mifsud’s declaration last week that “the authority believed that the north side of the island needed an area of entertainment to boost tourism” and that the “authority’s policy is to spread places of entertainment to the north and to develop the coast.”
FAA added that it agrees with Dr Demarco that too narrow a view was being taken when assessing tourism development applications which ignored environmental considerations. Tourists are attracted by well-conserved heritage and are increasingly shunning environmental black spots. Relying on MEPA to pick up on any flaws in this regard was not an acceptable approach and hardly workable in the circumstances.
A reviewed five-year tourism policy plan approved over 18 months ago clearly requires that environmental considerations are taken into account rather than the authority blindly pushing the country’s tourism agenda, FAA said.
FAA concluded by saying that it is refreshing to hear that Dr Demarco acknowledges this. As he has pointed out, nowhere in the tourism policy for 2007 – 2011 is it claimed that places of entertainment should be allowed to spread to the greener north of the island.
Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar