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Developing Sustainable Tourism in Malta


To understand what an exactly tourism management specialization is and have awareness what I am studying at school I had to first understand what is nowadays tourism and how to manage it. It is important for me that I have good understanding of what I am writing about and what is the area that I should base my project. Let me specify what tourism is and connected to that tourism management in order to continue and narrow down the research problem.

Everyone in our lives was tourist at some point, and to define what tourism is can be difficult. Tourism is when people travel no more than one year to different environment for leisure, business or other purpose. Tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to constantly adapt to customers’ changing needs and desires, as the customer’s satisfaction, safety and enjoyment are particularly the focus of tourism businesses. Tourism management is mostly about setting a plan or a solution for problem of course within tourism sector. It is about taking the decision regarding to our aims and resources. Tourism is one of the biggest earning incomes in each of the countries around the world. It is important to manage it well to changing needs mentioned before. Tourism industry include: transport, accommodations, food and beverage, establishments, shops, entertainments and events, activity facilities, and a variety of hospitality service providers who deliver service to individuals or groups traveling away from home. Tourism product is not produced by some organization, specific people or group, or governmental agency; rather, it is defined as “a satisfying visitor experience.” Tourism definition is about every activity and experience that a tourist meets during his or her entire trip away from home.

As this project has to be based on my internship experience that I had in my second semester I want to give a touch of information where I have been and what I did. In year 2010 I had great opportunity to have my work placement in 5 stars Corinthia St. George’s Bay Hotel situated in small but exotic country – Malta. I was working in different areas beginning from food & beverage, events planning, weddings and finishing at front desk. This time gave me big competence how hotels work, and how hospitality is important. Finally I could implement my knowledge from school in to practice and having a great start for my future career.


Malta is a small island situated in the bottom of south Europe, lies in a strategic position, between Europe and North Africa. Lack of natural resources, the strength of Malta, hasalwayslied squarely with its geographic position and the island has a checkered history of foreign rulers from the Phoenicians, Romans, Normans, Arabs, Spanish, Knights of St. John, the French and lastly the British.

The island was a great fortress economy, with a 150-year reliance on the British armed forces. Post independence, in 1964, the island sold itself and became manufacturing hub, particularly in the textile and surprising the electronics industry, and bolstering its nascent tourism industry. In the early 1990s, the island became EU membership, and starts developing its services industry and reduces the reliance on the tourism sector.

Malta became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004 and accept the Euro currency on 1 January 2008. In accordance with the accession to the EU, new knowledge-based activities were spawnedsuch as financial services, remote gaming, information and communications technologies, and aviation services increasing the clout of the island state. Well positioned after the international recession, Malta want to stay competitive and attract foreign investment with a variety of professional services, low costs, save and stable investment climate and fiscal advantages.

Corinthia St. George’s Bay

I would like to give you some of the information about the hotel that I had my internship in.

Internationally luxury hotels in such a destinations like: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Libya, Malta, Portugal and Russia. Created by the Pisani family of Malta in the 1960s, the Corinthia brand stands in that proud tradition of Mediterranean hospitality and its signature services communicate the ‘Warm smiles, Inspired Flavours and Pleasant Surprises’ of its Maltese heritage.

All Corinthia hotels feature beautiful conference areas, extensive leisure and business tourist facilities, and are each renowned for their uniqueness of character. Corinthia Hotels’ portfolio includes two award-winning properties: The CorinthiaHotelBudapest, Hungary – winner of Europe’s ‘Best Hotel Architecture Award’ and member of ‘The Most Famous Hotels in the World’ andCorinthia Hotel Prague in the Czech Republic – the first hotel ever to win Best Gastronomy Concept in the Czech Republic and a recipient of the ‘5 stars and 6 stripes’ designation from renowned US reviewer Seven Stars and Stripes.

The Corinthia Hotels portfolio also features the elegant Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa and the splendid Corinthia Hotel St Georges Bay in Malta – the one that I have been, The superior five-star CorinthiaHotelTripoli, Libya, the modern Corinthia Hotel Lisbon in Portugal and the renowned CorinthiaHotelSt. Petersburg, Russia.

Malta issue

In my internship report project I had to find and solve problems, or find some innovation connected with the hotel that I worked in, or area within the tourism industry. One of the problems in hotel was communication. I found out that minimum 75% members of Corinthia St. Georg’s Bay hotel who are building service for the customers in fully booked 250 rooms do not speak more than 2 languages. What we can officially read on the main website of the Corinthia St. Georg’s Bay hotel is that languages spoken at the hotel are: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Danish, Portuguese, and Romanian. It surprised me the most, because this is not only the problem of communication inside the hotel but also outstanding lack of professionalism which is simply giving customers lies.

While taking care about communication problems in a Corinthia St. Georg’s Bay I also noticed that motto to all of employees sounds: smile, greed and eye contact. Human communication consists of 93% body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves so it includes exactly hotel motto, which was not used by member staff properly. In conclusion, my internship report was based on solving the communication inside the hotel. This problem didn’t occur only in Corinthia St. George’s Bay hotel but also in almost every different hotel around Malta. Weak communication between hotels, bad organization, lack of information for tourists, uncertainty of guests, mistakes that leads to misunderstanding. It gave me big sign that there is a lot of work to do, to implement better strategy – to do not lose customers, and develop Malta in such a way that problem of communication will disappear. In such a way that hotels will more cooperate with each other, support tourism industry when they have the same goals and take care about social benefits. It requires a lot of dedication from citizens and government, so I will try to find the way to make it real.

As I am a tourist management student I don’t want to solve hotel problem. I would like to find some more challenging issues, so I would like to undertake sustainable Malta development. For that I will use just example of my hotel as one of the many similar amenities around the island to understand what benefits they can have or actions they have to take in order to achieve success.

Sustainable development of destinations is about managing the visitor impact on a local destination’s economy, social fabric and physical environment in a way which benefits everybody, residents, businesses, landowners and visitors alike, both now and in the future. These principles can be applied to all tourism destinations – notably small islands with unique fauna and flora and to all areas and forms of tourism whether niche or mainstream, rural, coastal or urban.

The best way of looking at this complicated relationship is through the idea of place shaping or place making, the principle that everything in a place is linked – that’s why I mentioned about communication problem that appear on the island. This is particularly the case with the complex range of components that make up any visitors unforgettable experience and the best time in Malta.

So from small problem – this was communication and bad connection, not only in Corinthia St. George’s Bay but around hotels in Malta general, the cooperation is weak, and to make it better the idea is that we need to involve all actors on the island for together cooperation. Group project – Malta development and repair the links in the service chain so not only hotels but also citizens, natural environment and economy will have benefits from sustainable development.

What exactly sustainable development is and the whole idea behind this words I will explain in later chapter. Before that, I would like to make problem formulation which will be the main road ahead my project.

Problem formulation

Malta is no longer good competitor in the basic sun and sea package, due to the much extended offers by larger and often newer destinations which could handle higher expectations of visitors. For Malta the basic sea and sun concept was not enough to handle the pressure of other holiday destinations and could not stand its own ground. It was clear therefore that what had basically fuelled the growth of the Maltese industry in the last decades could no longer sustain the growth and development of the industry. Malta therefore had to think creatively and to innovate in order to rejuvenate the Malta tourism offer. Having in mind that Malta situation is bad and to make it better, I tried to create the cooperation of all actors on the island with sustainable destination development to beat the competition and rejuvenate nowadays position, but at the same point keeping the safety of natural environment which will be supported by local community and group working of Malta services. In order to do that I came up with problem formulation which will help me to solve or particularly give an idea how Malta could stand up again. In conclusion, this report is going to be based on solving the following problem formulation:

How sustainable destination development of Malta can interconnect all social area and tourism industry, in order to innovate unique experience on the island, and rejuvenate the Malta tourism offer, without destroying the natural environment?

In order to help me to solve this main problem, I think that is going to be really helpful if I consider some sub questions in this project.

  • What is sustainable development?
  • How we can connect social area together with tourism industry if it’s possible?
  • Why Malta need rejuvenation?
  • How to protect the nature ?

To help me answer these sub questions I will use different types of models and theory. Relevant sources of information and critically chosen secondary data. The way I will structure my project and get better understanding of my vision you can see in methodology part. Therefore a major fraction of secondary data includes carefully chosen web-pages and provided academic papers, such as specialization books.


Following this introduction, the dependence of SIDS on tourism is briefly described. Section 3 assesses the economic impact of tourism on the Maltese economy, while section 4 deals with environmental impact of tourism on the same islands. Some preemptive and corrective measures for the promotion of sustainable tourism are suggested in section 5. Section 6 concludes the paper with the optimistic note that tourism itself is sharpening our awareness of the evils of environmental degradation, and this could be conducive towards the adoption of sustainable tourism policies and measures.

Sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism is very often considered as keeping the balance between economy and environment concerns. It is clear that economic activity has an impact on the environment and that this has feedback effect on the economy itself. This is especially true in the case of tourism, which makes use of environmental resources. This is especially true in the case of tourism, which makes use of environmental resources.

Tourism depends on good looking and well kept surrounding environment which is pleasant and attractive to tourists, and negative environmental impacts caused by tourism itself, could destroy the image of the tourism destination in the long run. Sustainable tourism may be regarded as developed and managed tourism that remains viable in the long run and does not degrade the environment in which it exists to such an extent that it prohibits the successful development of other activities.

This project deals with the issue for small island states in the developing country (SIDS), Malta. In many small developing island degradation of natural environment caused by tourism is commonplace. However, many SIDS may not be a form of ongoing activities to other, more environmentally friendly actions that are not associated with serious economic difficulties.

The paper therefore takes in to consideration preemptive and corrective measures to find solution between the bad sides of environmental degradation and the benefits of economic growth and development.

Sustainable tourism development does not only protect the environment – it shows us the proper consideration of host peoples, communities, cultures, customs, lifestyles, and social and economic systems. It is tourism that can give benefits to those who are on the target site, and that does not destroy and degrade the milieu in which they live and from which they must earn a living after the last tourist has flown back home. It is tourism that renovate the material life of local communities, without the loss of traditional employment systems, acculturation or social disruption.

Thus tourism is brought within the debate on sustainable development in general. Sustainable tourism development takes into consideration three main points:

  • The necessary interactions between the environment and economy
  • Long-term time scale.
  • Inter nad intra-generational equity – ensuring the needs of modern society without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

From my own observations, sustainable tourism, as described above is new idea, and it is important to fully understand it in the tourism industry, as the concept and its consequences. Many people still define sustainable tourism mainly with tourism growth. Sustainable tourism development seems to be one of the main priorities of the current tourism policies. It is not only a goal to bring the number of visitors or build the required number of hotels and destinations. Quality versus quantity is still a painful decision and compromise in the tourism industry goes usually with words more and bigger is best.

Promoting Malta as an experience

Malta had to base its product on something different from the basic availability of sun and beautiful sea which will always feature in their offers. History of Malta became very interesting due to the all Mediterranean happenings that had influence on Maltase culture background. Malta in fact has the oldest freestanding man-made structures, older that pyramids in Egypt, made in stone in the world and can pride itself on 23 known pre-historic temple sites as well as a whole chain of other structures, remains and buildings. The Maltese have a mixed cultural profile with an Arab based language. Malta is located exactly in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and is an island that has influence from east and west. Malta has also the uniqueness of having two official languages Maltese and English. Malta also features in the Acts of the Apostles as an island that was converted to Christianity in AD 60 which is documented in the said Acts of the Apostles.

Malta therefore could claim to have a variety of unique features that together could create a special value offer that could lead to a whole series of specific products that can attract to different segments of the market as well as to specific niche markets that are looking for something specific to do in visiting a particular destination. Malta is not a big island and it is important that visitors will not only rise the number of guests in hotel but also frequenting the whole Malta attractions. In fact visitors will feel as part of the local culture and taste the local life where the population becomes on of the elements in experience product. This is synonymous to saying that visiting the destination amounts to an exposure that is much broader than the limited interest that one might have started with in choosing Malta for a destination. Therefore, we should not promote Malta as a destination but we should start promoting it as an experience. This implies that the value provided to the visitor derives from the experience and not just from the services consumed. Promoting Malta as an experience creates opportunity to competitive with other tourism destinations and attracts different market segments. Before Malta can be an unforgettable experience it requires lot of changes in development and society area. To change the way Malta is received by tourists, we need to look on Malta situation over the years, and have in mind that if something goes wrong, we can lose Malta clients once again as this had

Maltese tourism statistics

This table shows number of tourists visiting Malta till 1999 year. In this table we can clearly see that Malta over 40 years has become a very popular tourism destination and from year to year the number of tourist has been increased very quickly. In 1999, the number of visitors to Malta amounted to 1,214,230 of which about 85 percent were stay over tourists and the remaining percentages were cruise passengers. The amount of incoming visitors has increased rapidly between 1960 and 1980, as can be seen in Table 1. There was a relatively large decrease in tourist inflows between 1980 and 1985, but the numbers picked up rapidly again during the last half of the eighties and the nineties.


The number of tourists staying on the island becomes even three times more than population and makes big density on the island which can be roughly translated into 30 thousand tourist staying for a whole year, given that on average, each tourist stayed in Malta for about 9.1 nights. This is equivalent to about 8% of the population, and, as expected such high densities exert heavy pressure on the environment and infrastructure of the Maltese Islands, where population density is already extremely high, with about 1200 persons per square kilometre.

Visitors nationality

The most important market for Malta tourism is Great Britain that set up the number of 34 % of all visitors. The second largest market is Germany, which contributed some 17% of tourists to Malta in recent years. Also a major tourism market to Malta was Italy, France, North Africa and the Netherlands. In recent years there was a tendency for the percentage of British tourists to decrease. At present there is an attempt to attract more tourists from North America.

Socio-economic background

To get a great holiday in Malta, unfortunately we have to spend large sums of money. National Tourism Organisation pointed out that the prices of attractions are too high and decrease the motivation of tourists that wants to visit Malta. They also showed that prices of tour operators offer are lot more expensive compared to similar countries such as Greece and Spain. Due to this fact the decreasing number of tourists coming to Malta has been noticed, just because tourists cannot afford it. National tourism organisation surveys results for the British market indicate that a large proportion of Summer tourists (51% in 1993) were managers, directors or belong to the well paid professions. It would appear therefore that Malta’s tourists are not typically low income earners.

Seasonal Pattern

Malta tourism is very seasonal, the majority of inbound tourists arriving in the May to October period in 1999, reached about 82 % of tourists arrived during these months, including 46% arrived during the shoulder months and 36% during the summer months (July to September). The remaining 18% arrived during the November to Jan period (the Winter months). This of course means that the problem of tourist density in summer is even worse. Maltese tourism authorities are trying to attract tourists to Malta during the winter, even if they success there will be no reduction during the winter.

Average Duration of Stay

In recent years, the average stay per tourist was about 9.4 in 1995 to about 9.1 nights in autumn 1999. It was about 13 days in the seventies and has fallen to 12 nights in the eighties. The overall average length of stay concealed significant differences between groups of tourists. Tourists, who are usually in a 3-star hotels and resorts, stay longer than other categories of hotels for accommodation. The shortest stays pertain to tourists in 5 star hotels so also Corinthia St. George’s Bay which has really big prices and are mainly focused on higher class of community at the same time keeping the low experience in the hotel and basic their luxury only on amenities as service failed due to the clients expectations..

Tourist Accommodation

The number of tourist establishments in 1999 was 246 – it is a big number including hotels, restaurants and amenities around the island with 40191 tourists. Tourists usually choose 3-star (51 hotels) and 4-star (34 hotels) category, with a share of about 77 percent of the total available hotel beds. Middle class could afford it and these kind of hotels had the biggest income. Five star hotels accommodation accounted for only 14 percent, really low number of total hotel beds. However government focused on building more 4 and 5 stars hotel to attract and change the offer of luxury hotels to increase the low percentage in these accommodations. In 1999 the average annual occupancy rate in all establishments was around 58 percent. As is the case with the length of stay, the overall occupancy average conceals considerable variation between different types of accommodation and different seasons. In 1999, the highest occupancy rates were for 4 star hotels (with 80%). while the lowest were for 1 star hotel with 14%. In the summer months occupancy rates tend to be almost twice as high as they are in the winter months, and in August of that year they overall average might have exceeded 90%. Actually I could see this during my internship and compare what kind of people visit 5 stars hotel and what their expectation of holidays are focused on and I would say that around 50% of guests were not satisfied.

Economic Contribution

The direct contribution of tourism to the economy can be measured in terms of its contributions to GDP, to the balance of payments and to gainful employment. In recent years, tourists are spending directly contributed about 15% of the gross domestic product Malta and 25% of the proceeds of foreign currency for goods and services. Malta is a multiple analysis of tourism, tourism seems to indicate the costs are usually higher leverage, where the majority of exports, due to tourism-related value-added production is relatively high. Tourism also contributed to the national economy through international transportation, as the large number of tourists of the domestic airline Air Malta used in regular and charter flights to car rentals. In recent years, transportation costs, which is related to tourism, about 5 percent of foreign exchange inflows from exports of goods and services. There are no statistics on the full contribution of tourism to employment in Malta published.

As already mentioned, it is not easy to determine, as the contribution of tourism expenditure creates jobs in nearly all sectors of the economy. However, it is known that in 1999, the hotel industry, which agreed in Malta almost exclusively on the development of international tourism, about 9,000 jobs, which represents 6 percent of the total economically active population. This, of course, does not represent all the jobs generated by tourism. “LldMB” the total amount will be 21000, provided that the employment generated by tourism as the ratio of total employment in the important contribution of tourist expenditure (including transport) to GDP. 6. At present, tourism does not contribute as much as the production of the Maltese economy, in terms of income and employment..However, the economic contribution of tourism is growing while that of¸ manufacturing is declining, and it is quite possible that within a decade the share of GDP originating from tourism will overtake that originating from manufacturing.

Unfortunately, the Malta Tourism Authority to us sometimes resembles the planning office in the old Soviet bureauracy. Good in production statistics to better identify problems and what the future will bring, but something is not bleak, as the targets set by them. Holidays in Malta and tourism is an important source of employment in Malta, and perhaps, with an unemployment rate above 8 per cent drop in tourists no long-term threat to the economy of the island magic. With official figures showing worrying signs that the number of tourists visiting Malta in 2006 are similar, perhaps even down from 2005 may be an opportunity for island flights operating system from the United Kingdom seems to have dropped all the important summer season. Holidays in Malta and tourism is an important source of employment in Malta, and perhaps, with an unemployment rate above 8 per cent drop in tourists no long-term threat to the economy of the island magic.

Malta development

To take a closer look on Malta situation, the most suit model of destination development is Butler model. The aim of this model is look at destination how they develop and grow. Tourism industry is very dynamic as any other and can change rapidly. Therefore, the Butler Model is a way of studying tourist resorts to see how they change to current demands and trends to stay on the market. These changes can then be compared to the predictions as shown on the model. We can see the similarity of what was happening in Malta when the destination was becoming popular and had more visitors each year. Malta popularity was growing and as a tourism destination achieved success. The problem appears now when Malta has stagnation time, and has to take some actions in order to rejuvenate and stop decline process. Unfortunately what Butler’s model is missing is being more specific and shows to low outside factors that can also have influence on a destination.

But from the latest news that was stated on official Malta webpage what we can read is:

Unfortunately the Malta Tourist Authority to us sometimes resembles a planning office in the old Soviet bureauracy. Good at producing statistics, excellent at identify problems and what the future needs, but failing miserably to deliver anything like the targets they set. Holidays in Malta and the related tourist sector are a major source of employment in Malta, and with unemployment running at over 8 per cent any fall in tourists could spell long term damage to the island’s economy. With official figures showing worrying signs that the number of tourists for 2006 visiting Malta could be similar, or perhaps even down from 2005, the opportunity for the island to have low cost flights operating from the UK appears to have slipped by for the all important summer season.

Holidays in Malta and the related tourist sector are a major source of employment in Malta, and with unemployment running at over 8 per cent any fall in tourists could spell long term damage to the island’s economy.

Destination development as a plan not only refreshes the tourism offer but has to convince that the whole product needs to be supported by any other operators. Specially this process connects and creates a bound with the stakeholders. Both local suppliers, as well as international distributors in the market will have benefits if they will stay behind the plan. This is being achieved in some way but this process is long and is not completed yet. The change also needs to convince local community to act as a Malta product and help in order to achieve together goals.

The problem is that the local community is the host and the tourist is the guest and the communication and service between them needs to be open to spread the experience and genuine hospitality. The public authorities are being integrated in this process. It is good that actions has been taken to warn the local by Malta Tourism Authority since 2000 and regular meetings are organized with the public authorities, both local and central. This process has to be refreshed each time to ensure and remind how support from partners is important.

The distribution element is very significant. The good point is that Malta tourism operators are much more aware of what they could offer and more responsive comparing to traditional tour operators. The government has the idea that they could not only serve usually offers to visitors but could focus on experience of Malta which can be shown in different manner and can be associated at the same time. Malta has developed a Web site that is very popular and easy to use for each of the guests. Currently is visited by 4 000 persons per day, who on average download ten pages each. Also a corporate Web site has been

I am sure that this is big process of innovation. Malta need to forget about old style tourism product and change the way of distribution, refresh the offer and change the position on the market. However, tourism is a service that people creates when they travel to get the service that they pay for. Social dimension is very important if Malta want to turn its product to unique experience. Not only are people involved as suppliers and as clients but the whole social aura actually provides the context within which the product can be designed and the delivery determined. The soft element of the infrastructure is therefore of absolute importance. The process was started in 1999 but it is still very much in progress. Malta is currently facing a problem of a misunderstanding between what government manages to promote and what they manage to deliver. Clearly this innovative process is not deep enough and the social dimension of new strategy has not yet been fully understood. Malta should try to obtain as much help among the various stakeholders in the tourism industry. The Government of Malta is providing leadership by developing the strategy. A main purpose is to find the way to engage in as much education and motivation as possible to have guaranteed that this innovative process and the management of change required does take root. The challenge is great but the change is necessary.

Small islands states and tourism

It is known that small islands states are much more depend on tourism more than larger countries do. The reason for this could be that when we compare two different states, small islands economy has much more tourism-related activities than others.

Islands like Malta are trying to expand export markets in sells, but it is not successful as these countries wish to be. Looking from different perspective, the natural environment including unique climate and landscapes of Malta gives some advantages in tourism activities. Because of this reason, government set up tourism as priority, and tries to get as much as they can from Malta potential by taking care of the most for them industry. Go

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