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Malta launches 2021-2030 tourism strategy

Malta launches 2021-2030 tourism strategy

The far-reaching document rests on a tripod of principles - ‘recover, rethink, revitalise’

The Malta Tourism Authority unveiled on Monday its national tourism strategy for the 2021-2030 period. The strategic document’s goal is to help the sector, which is among the five top contributors to the island’s economy with about 17 percent of GDP, recover from the Covid-19 fallout and adapt to the new (post-) pandemic realities.

Accent on quality and sustainability

Outlining the proposed strategy to partners and the public, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo assured operators and partners in the industry that they will continue to receive government support. Yet he made it clear that the sector’s rebound in the next 10 years would not merely depend on recovery from the damages caused by the pandemic, but also on improving the quality of the tourism product and services.   

The strategy’s three-pronged approach is illustrated by its aptly alliterated logo: ‘Recover, Rethink, Revitalise’.

“The next decade of our economic history is based on these 3 pillars. In the recovery period, we will re-establish airline connectivity and relaunch ourselves in source markets, all the while addressing our vision for the quality of this sector’s future,” said Bartolo, quoted by Malta Independent

He added that the tourism sector should lead the way in the economic recovery of Malta, by being forward-looking and fearless in embracing changes that are needed to make it more sustainable. The sustainable principles embedded in the strategy envisage making the best of the country’s natural and cultural attractions. In doing so, a balance must be found between the well-being of locals and the maximization of the visitor experience.

Tapping niche and new markets

To achieve their overall goal, the tourism strategy planners have set a total of 22 strategic aims - on the economic contributions to the country’s GDP, on Gozo, on new and promising segments of the tourism market (e.g education, healthcare, movie making), etc. Moreover, plans have been laid out for Malta’s brand positioning and footprint, the environment and climate as a tourism product, accommodation, promotion of the island as a quality destination, human resources, conventions and events, and more. Plans are also underway to tap particular niche markets, including religious and sports tourism, alongside the rollout of specialised, digitally-driven campaigns to attract tourists from new markets.

“We have the faith tourism and as a country we are capable of tapping the American market where there are millions of interested catholics. There is the sports tourism to attract cyclists, athletes, swimmers and kayakers. Study is also underway on other niche destinations we can attract,” said Bartolo, quoted by public broadcaster TVM.

The good news is that, according to the Minister, ongoing investments in hotels and infrastructure have not been affected by the pandemic. The government will be sounding stakeholders on the strategy in January and February, and afterwards it will be open to public consultation. The aim is to put the finishing touches to the strategy by March, so as to launch the key plans and programmes by the start of the second quarter of 2021.

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