A new strategy for Malta's tourism sector up to 2030 was announced on Thursday, with the stated aim being to breathe new life into the sector by looking at new ways for sustainable growth.  

Launched by Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo, the strategy is based on three pillars: helping the industry continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, rethinking previous growth models and revitalising the sector by cornering new niches.

Among its strategic targets, the strategy seeks to raise tourist volumes sustainably and see higher tourist expenditure, as well as improving the quality of accommodation while ensuring that the pressures generated by tourism do not leave a negative impact on the country.

To achieve this, the document sets out 12 strategic areas to focus on in order to achieve these goals.

Chiefly, the strategy looks at ways to maintain tourism’s share of the GDP and ensure it remains a stable economic pillar. 

The strategy also suggests continuing to push Gozo as a distinct tourist destination, focusing on its strengths as a gastronomical and rural tourist experience.

The strategy also highlights that imbalances in the accommodation sector must be addressed through more selective development policy.

Stronger enforcement on unlicensed accommodation

It adds that enforcement should come down stronger on unlicensed accommodation as well as underperforming establishments, recommending a shift towards more stringent licensing guidelines based on quality. 

Tackling a gap in human resources is also highlighted, with the strategy seeking to improve the industry’s attractiveness as an employer through career opportunities and wage attractiveness. 

The other strategic areas include marketing, developing emerging sectors, brand positioning, brand footprint, environment and climate change, creating a quality destination, conventions and events as well as governance and implementation. 

At the end of its implementation by 2030, the strategy seeks to have achieved an upskilled workforce, modern infrastructure, updated legislation, strengthening digital potential, improving Malta’s airline connectivity network, developing new services and products in line with global trends and unceasing marketing efforts to position the country as a destination of choice for the widest possible range of motivations for travel.

“This is not merely a plan to return to the tourism industry pre-pandemic, but one in which we strive to work towards an industry which is stronger, more competitive and better equipped to handle the challenges of the next decade,” Bartolo said.

“But this will not succeed if implemented by the government alone. It is a strategy for the entire tourism industry and all sectors related to tourism. It will only be successful if it attracts the widespread stakeholder acceptance that is necessary for it to succeed.”

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