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Minister Portelli showing one of the plaques, Source: Julia Farrugia Portelli on Facebook

Ceramic plaques make tourism more accessible in Mdina and Valletta

Ceramic plaques make tourism more accessible in Mdina and Valletta

Tourists with visual impairments can feel the plates to get a sense of what historic buildings look like and scan a QR code to listen to more details

On 7 March, the Maltese Ministry of Inclusion, Quality of Life, and Volunteering launched a pilot project that seeks to make tourism more accessible for people with visual impairments. More specifically, Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli unveiled 14 custom-made ceramic plaques that will now stand in front of historic buildings in Mdina and Valetta.

Using their sense of touch, tourists will be able to feel the ceramic replicas and imagine what the landmarks in front of them look like. What is more, the plaques will also feature QR codes which, when scanned, will allow tourists to listen to the history behind the buildings. Commenting on the project, Minister Portelli shared:

“Through this pilot project, we are sending a strong message that when projects are carried out, including tourism projects, we must think about making them accessible to everyone. […] A person with a vision impairment remains a person who wants to travel, wants to explore.”

Ceramic plaques MaltaOne of the 14 plaques (Source: Julia Farrugia Portelli on Facebook)

Where are the plaques?

To reiterate, the project will initially run in two cities, Mdina and Valletta, with both destinations having plaques in front of seven historic buildings. Tourists can find the ceramic installations in front of the following landmarks:

Mdina

  1. Palace Vilhena
  2. Torre dello Standardo
  3. Corte Capitanale
  4. Banca Giuratale
  5. The Cathedral of Mdina
  6. The museum in front of Mdina's Cathedral
  7. Greeks Gate

Valletta

  1. The Auberge de Castille
  2. Wignacourt Fountain
  3. The Parliament
  4. Palazzo Ferreria
  5. John's Co-Cathedral
  6. The National Library
  7. The Grandmaster's Palace

Explaining why it chose Mdina and Valletta for the pilot project, the ministry revealed that 2.7 million tourists visited Malta before COVID-19. According to the Malta Tourism Authority, 70% of travellers visited Mdina while 90% travelled to Valletta. As such, the ministry saw the need to make these destinations more accessible for all.

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