Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli said that over 8,000 people in the tourism sector applied for educational training courses in order to further improve their knowledge and skills.
In a press conference addressed by Tourism Minister together with Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Rights and Public Cleanliness Deo Debattista at the Esplora Centre in Kalkara, Farrugia Portelli remarked that “we’ve trained 8,000 participants from the tourism sector, with more than 1,000 different courses provided by 33 different entities.”
Around 6,000 participants who enrolled for the course have just successfully completed their studies, while about 2,000 more are still in the process of undertaking an accredited course.
“The challenges posed by the pandemic in the tourism industry have been turned into opportunities with the aim of improving all the services, facilities and attractions offered by the sector so that we are fully prepared once we return to normality,” Minister Farrugia Portelli said.
Speaking about the courses, Tourism Minister expressed her content as these courses have opened the door for students and workers in the sector to improve their knowledge and skills.
“It is the vision of the government to prepare Malta for tomorrow and to invest unprecedently in tourism because we know that when the pandemic passes, tourism will once again be the economic engine of this country,” she said.
In addition, the Minister said that the 2021 budget allocated €95 million to the tourism sector and during the covid-19 pandemic months, an investment of €5.6 million was made in a joint work between the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection and the Malta Employment Authority.
The amount that was allocated to the tourism sector this year (€95 million) reflects a €10 million increase in comparison to what was allocated in 2020.
Tourism Minister added that another challenge posed by the pandemic which was turned into an opportunity included that of investing in the tourism product itself in order to improve the facilities and thus offer a better service to all.
“Next year we aim to start working on the regeneration of tourist areas,” she said.
The Foundation for Tourism Zone development will take on a bigger role in the type of work it does. It will not only focus on maintenance projects, but also on projects that lead to total change in various strategic areas. These areas range from the North of Malta to other tourist destinations such as Marsaskala, Birgu, Wied iz-Zurrieq, amongst others.
Farrugia Portelli highlighted that tourists are not only interested, and do not come to our country for the sun and the sea alone, but tourists are keen on exploring other localities such as the three cities of Cottonera which part of the three cities alone attract more than a million tourists a year. This means that 35% of tourists visit Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea.
In addition, she referred to the fact that during the months of the pandemic in Valleta an investment of around €10 million was made for many projects. Another €15.5 million have also been invested in 20 localities, including Comino. Apart from this, a total amount of €17 million was invested by Parks Malta in order to better protect and treat all the valleys around Malta and Gozo.
Deo Debattista stressed how the sectors within his portfolio have worked wisely to achieve the planned goals.
He said that through a careful plan and concrete measures we have improved the service offered with the aim of improving the quality life of Maltese and Gozitans.
‘As a government we have worked among others to improve the image of Malta. Also, another sector in this Secretariat, the MCCAA, is there to build trust between consumers and partners in order to have a fair economy and put the consumer at the centre of what we do,’ he said.