Between 2010 and 2019, Malta witnessed ten years of high growth in the tourism sector. In 2019, 2.75 million tourists visited the Maltese islands. This growth, however, was abruptly halted when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
The Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection (“the Ministry”) has launched the “Malta Tourism Strategy 2021-2030”. The strategy is based on two critical pillars for the tourism sector moving forward:
1. A recovery path following the disruptions imposed by COVID-19; and
2. A way forward for the sector with revamped guiding principles to reflect a new framework.
A recurring theme in this strategy is an emphasis of quantity versus quality. The vision of the Ministry is to attract tourists offering a higher economic value who will, in turn, leave a better financial return in Malta. This profile of tourist would only be attracted to Malta if the entire quality of the tourism value chain is improved and the strategy addresses the service delivery, human resources requirements, accommodation mix and connectivity while addressing socio-economic factors such as sustainable development and climate change.
For the years 2021 to 2030, the Ministry shortlisted three strategic development options for the tourism sector:
- Recover from the losses incurred as a result of COVID-19 while still being feasible and sustainable.
- Rethink and reevaluate previous ways of working, with a view to stakeholders being more socially and economically conscious.
- Revitalise processes aimed at giving new life to Maltese tourism with the intention of elevating it to a high socio-economic level based on stronger principles of sustainability.
The plan of action for this Strategy was derived from the Strategy’s Vision, Mission and Challenges identified. The plan of action was divided into 11 sub-themes listed below:
To maintain the sector’s share of the country’s GDP and as a result continue to give it priority as a major pillar for economic development.
To continue to position Gozo as a distinctive quality destination focusing on relaxation and wellness. The recent decrease in tourism could be treated as a competitive advantage rather than a deficiency.
3. Marketing & Segments
Identify the mix of established and emerging segments and focus attention on the continued strengthening and developments of these segments.
4. Emerging and Developing Segments
To explore and tap into other sectors and streams to explore additional potential opportunities.
5. Brand Positioning
To position Malta as a destination of choice by boosting affordable connectivity strategies.
6. Brand footprint
To strengthen the City dimension and to further develop “Brand Valletta”. In addition, to differentiate between the various zones within the national territory to adopt product development, branding and a marketing strategy for each, and to use this as a competitive advantage.
7. Environment, Climate and Tourism Product
To engage in a national and global effort to reduce the detrimental effects of climate change and global warning and also introduce a set of measurable environmental indicators which would act as a benchmark and ensure that any development would fit within the desired levels and ranges. Another action as part of this strategy is to preserve national heritage and promote it to attract tourists and to monitor international trends and development in tourism to ensure sustainability.
8. Tourism Accommodation
To emphasize the importance of quality through stricter enforcement and guidelines which will add value to Maltese tourism.
9. Quality Destination
To emphasize the importance of quality by addressing those elements which offer an inferior experience and improve the tourists’ experience through digitalisation and smart approaches.
10. Industry Human Resources
To improve the sector’s attractiveness as an employer through continuous training and improved wages.
11. Conventions & Events
To deliver a National Convention and Events Centre to cover a year-round calendar of activities for the various target audiences in different months.
To view the full “Recover Rethink Revitalise - Malta Tourism Strategy 2021 – 2030”, kindly click here.