Editorial: Summer and tourism

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 June, 2023 at 12:13 pm by Andre Camilleri

Summer has started, and the tourism industry for the next three months will be in full swing.

Numbers are showing that the industry has picked up after the Covid-19 downturn.

Figures that have been provided by the National Statistics Office and the Malta International Airport show that there has been a steady rise in the number of visitors to the islands since the start of the year. The government and the Malta Tourism Authority seem to be happy with the numbers, because the recovery is moving at speed and we might possibly reach pre-pandemic numbers this year. Even English language schools are reporting that the numbers are picking up, with many students from countries close and far applying to take up courses in Malta.

It is clear that the crisis that was faced when the pandemic was stopping people from travelling – also because of the many restrictions that were put in place during those long months – is now over. People have started to pack up their bags and go on holiday and, as used to happen before Covid, they are doing so more than once a year.

The presence of so many tourists in the country will not be without its negative effects. The burden on the infrastructure keeps growing, as traffic issues will also become worse. Our country becomes more overcrowded – just take a look at our most popular beaches to get an idea. What we cannot understand is that road works take much longer than anticipated and that work on major thoroughfares that take visitors to popular tourist areas (such as through Xemxija) is carried out in the summer months.

In the next three months selected construction work will stop in areas which are deemed to be tourist-sensitive, but the overall shabbiness that exists in several localities – including those which are frequented by tourists – continues.

We have said this many times and we feel inclined to repeat it again – we must take care of the tourism industry, given also that it is one of the prime movers of the economic wheel. Tourists come over to enjoy a pleasant stay and if they spend too much time going from one destination to another, or if they are not pleased with the level of cleanliness, or else are not provided with the proverbial value-for-money experience, then we run the risk of losing out.

Malta and Gozo, it must be said, have become expensive places to live in and for entertainment too, and tourists will realise that too. One understands that inflation is not helping, but we should not become too greedy. In this day and age, it is easy to compare prices – and if our “services” to tourists are seen to be more costly than similar ones provided in other countries, it would not be long before the penny drops.

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