Locals become tour guides through newly launched immersive tourism project

TheMalta Tourism Society and the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture of the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Ħal Safi, Qrendi and Ħal Kirkop local councils collaborated on the project

30 June 2015, 3:11pm
Parliamentary secretary Stefan Buontempo launching the initiative in Safi
Parliamentary secretary Stefan Buontempo launching the initiative in Safi
Parliamentary secretary for Local Government Stefan Buontempo, inaugurated a tourism project on Tuesday which places the residents of Ħal Safi, Qrendi and Ħal Kirkop at its centre.

The project, entitled “Discovering Malta and Gozo through its people and culture” is the result of a joint venture between the Malta Tourism Society and the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture of the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Ħal Safi, Qrendi and Ħal Kirkop local councils.

Through this project, two itineraries were devised, which will lead visitors to visit different places of interest. However, the most important aspect of their tour will be their total immersion in the local way of life, as the tour is based on the tourists’ interaction with locals with the aim of maximising their tour experience.

Buontempo said the project “enhances our communities, as it recognises the fact that the inhabitants are the added value of our towns and villages.” He praised the project for being “innovative in its simplicity” as it steers away from the concept of conventional excursions and is aimed at providing a holistic experience of what it means to be Maltese to visitors through food, customs and interaction with locals.

He referred to the importance given to village feasts with regards to tourism. However, he remarked that “the village feast takes place only once a year. Our towns and villages are beautiful all year round and we should appreciate them throughout the year, after all, we live in them all year round.”

Buontempo said,"the greatest merit of this project is to put residents at the forefront of the itinerary as the protagonists, together with the environment they inhabit. The project will help residents acquire skills on how to interact with their visitors through storytelling and narration of their experiences. Visitors will be able to be guided off the beaten track by knowledgeable locals who can help them discover some of the lesser known histories which no guidebook so far could possibly recall.”