Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 August, 2023 at 11:33 pm by Andre Camilleri
Malta’s image needs to be fixed and rebuilt, the Malta Chamber of Commerce has said in a statement, also writing that while the number of tourists has increased, their spending power in real terms has decreased.
The Malta Chamber of Commerce issued a statement following recent international news articles about Malta. British tabloid “The Sun” had published an article which depicted Malta as the country where young holidaymakers are seeking “good food, cheap booze and legal weed”. Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had expressed his frustration at the negative way Malta was depicted and he blamed this on the Labour government for failing to attract quality tourists. However, asked about this, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo had insisted that cheap alcohol and legal cannabis do not act as incentives for tourists to visit Malta. Bartolo had said how, currently, five-star hotels are experiencing some of the best numbers in their history and he mentioned the six Michelin-star restaurants Malta has, as well as around another 30 restaurants which are in the Michelin guide.
The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said that it “is highly concerned about the fact that international news is describing Malta as a destination for tourists seeking inexpensive alcohol, legal drug consumption and uninhibited revelry. This undermines more desirable avenues of tourism and is diametrically opposite to government’s repeated pledge to promote the Maltese Islands as a hub for quality tourism experiences.”
Tourism plays a vital role when it comes to Malta’s identity, it said. “Though the number of tourists visiting our islands may have increased, in real terms their spending power has decreased. This is why The Malta Chamber has consistently urged authorities to prioritise quality over numerical influx and to promote Malta’s uniqueness in terms of culture, heritage and history. This requires efforts which go beyond marketing and PR strategies. Waste collection, cleanliness, order, enforcement, clean seas and beaches, upkeep of public areas, a stable energy supply and traffic are just some of the areas that need to be significantly invested in to attract tourists who look for quality experiences. Over-construction needs to be addressed too. This becomes even more relevant when one notes that Mediterranean countries that Malta competes with have registered percentage increases in bed nights which are much greater than Malta’s.”
“Malta’s image needs to be fixed and rebuilt. Unless we immediately stem the tide, repositioning Malta as a destination of substance will not be possible. Visions, strategies and reforms which remain on paper are pointless. Immediate action from the authorities is required to revive Malta as a destination of choice by tourists looking for quality experiences. The preservation of our country’s appeal must supersede any transient allure of becoming a mere party hotspot,” the Chamber said.
“Step up and act now.”