The Institute for Tourism Studies has submitted an application to turn the former Air Malta head office in Luqa into student accommodation amid efforts to attract foreigners.

The application envisages turning the offices off Triq l-Avjazzjoni into dormitories for 136 students.

The institute had moved to Luqa from its former site in Pembroke after the site in St George’s Bay was obtained by the db Group for a major hotel, retail and residential development.

The move, in 2017, had originally been a temporary move for five years until the ITS built its new €75 million campus at Smart City in Kalkara. It is not known whether the Luqa campus is set to become its main campus with the plan to turn the old offices into student accommodation.

According to the application filed with the Planning Authority, the ITS is proposing dormitory facilities to serve its adjacent campus. The proposal consists of kitchen and dining facilities at ground level, and accommodation facilities for 136 students at first and second floor.

Proposal works to include internal structural alterations as well as the installation of an external lift.

The currently disused site, covering an area of 870 square metres, had been used as Air Malta’s head office for several years, given its close proximity to the airport. Air Malta has since moved to Skyparks, just a stone’s throw away.

When contacted, an ITS spokeswoman explained that the institute felt the need to cater for student accommodation since it was attracting foreign students.

“With its internationalisation strategy, ITS is attracting more students who chose our institute to further their studies in the field of tourism and hospitality. One of the challenges we face is to accommodate these students and hence we felt the need to explore the possibility to have a student dorm within our campus in line with what our competitors have internationally,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the cost of the project depended on final plans after it went through the entire planning process, which was still in its initial phase.

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