MHRA calls for a new Tourism Strategic Plan for Malta and Gozo
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The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has said that it “positively notes the debate in Parliament yesterday addressing tourism matters however remarks that it is evident that Malta needs an updated vision and a new longer term holistic strategic plan for the tourism industry.”
MHRA President Mr Paul Bugeja stated that, “the time is right now to launch a strategy that should signal a fundamental shift in how Government will facilitate sustainable development and strategic growth of the Tourism industry in Malta and Gozo in the coming years.”
Mr Bugeja emphasised that “the Tourism industry is highly sensitive and operates within a dynamic market so it is important that whilst we plan long term we are to be flexible and innovative at the same time.”
He added that “Government together with all the stakeholders need to consider the issues and opportunities surrounding tourism. The proposed strategy should put into action a Government holistic approach by applying a tourism lens to policy and programme development and also focusing future tourism investments on priority areas.”
“By setting such a comprehensive direction Government will enhance its role as an effective partner with the industry and other levels of government in support of an internationally competitive tourism sector.”
Mr Bugeja said “MHRA proposes that the Strategy should focus on four priorities: 1) Increasing awareness of Malta as a premier tourist destination in the Mediterranean Region. 2) Facilitating ease of access and movement for travellers while ensuring the safety and integrity of Malta’s borders. 3) Encouraging product development and investments in Maltese tourism assets and products. 4) Fostering an adequate supply of skills and labour to enhance visitor experiences through quality service and hospitality.”
“In this light MHRA reiterates that we need to take into consideration the size of the island as a starting point and accordingly define the maximum carrying capacity, if necessary by season. Indeed we believe it’s time to look at the different segments of the market and establish which ones are giving maximum returns and which have a potential for growth, both in terms of quality and volume in particular to develop the shoulder and winter months,” he said.
“The plan needs to also address the operational costs for the industry which are increasing continuously and whether the imported labour is doing more harm than good since we are eroding the Maltese experience which hopefully is one of the reasons why people visit Malta.”
Mr Bugeja further stated that, “The industry that provides services to the all guests who visit our country is a critical part of our economy. Indeed, the tourism industry supports businesses and workers in various sectors of our economy and social levels, and many thousands of Maltese rely on tourism for their jobs and livelihoods.”
“The industry is now clear and is calling for a new tourism strategic plan that leads to better coordination of efforts amongst the various Ministries and other stakeholders in support of the tourism industry. MHRA is pleased to note that Government and the Opposition are on the same wavelength and as always is willing to participate in such an important process,” Mr Bugeja concluded.
Photograph by Alain Salvary.