Malta could have its own National Capital of Culture every three years if a new proposal by Valletta 2018 chairman Jason Micallef is taken on board.

The proposal, which was submitted to political parties for inclusion in their electoral manifestos, would follow the model of successful programmes in the UK and elsewhere.

If implemented, it would bridge the gap between Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture next year and Malta’s next go at the rotating cultural title, recently brought forward from 2031 to 2030 due to Brexit.

Mr Micallef said the country’s candidate for the 2030 European Capital of Culture will be selected by 2025, where for the first time the field will be open for towns and villages to submit their own candidature, with a national selection process ahead of a European bid.

READ: Valletta 2018 launches its programme for 2017

Valletta was the sole candidate for the 2018 title following an agreement between all local councils to back the capital’s bid.

Mr Micallef was speaking during the announcement of a new cultural fund for local councils. The fund, which replaces an existing programme, will allocate €750,000 over the next three years to cultural and heritage events organised by local and regional authorities.

Unlike the previous programme, the fund will allow councils to apply for events over a three-year period, with a secondary call for events between now and the end of the year.

Local councils parliamentary secretary Stefan Buontempo said the reform would help councils upgrade and professionalise their events, stressing the need for an emphasis on quality over quantity.

Dr Buontempo called for councils to collaborate with the private sector for additional funding, adding that the government would be working on tax initiatives to aid the process.

READ: Valletta's infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade, says Valletta 2018 Foundation

Malta Tourism Authority official Edward Zammit said the lack of long-term planning in cultural events hampered the authority’s ability to promote initiatives overseas, with most tourism operators working to multi-year plans.

Local cultural events, he added, were become increasingly important due to a changing tourism model focused on integrating with the local community over spending time in hotels and resorts.

“We don’t need to ‘Disneyfy’ what we have to offer because it’s authentic,” he said. “The backdrop of our culture, traditions and heritage is already there.”

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