Mizzi plans new beaches around Malta in new public land spin-off

The new tourism minister, Konrad Mizzi, says he will look into the possiblity of developing new beachs through public-private partnerships

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi
Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi has said that he would like to see a concerted effort to develop beaches in various localities around the island.

Mizzi was speaking in Parliament during as the House debated financial estimates for the Malta Tourism Authority, where he said that it was essential for Malta to increase its attractions, in order to make it a more appealing tourist destination.

He said that the former Chalet in Sliema had been left in a bad state and that the government would be looking at the possibility of a public-private partnership that would see it converted into fully-fledged public beach.

Similar plans, he said, would be considered in localities such as Pembroke.

Moreover, he said that work on would soon be starting on a carpark in Marsaxlokk, as well as the regeneration of its promenade. He said similar plans were in place for Birzebbuga, while also noting the need for parking facilities at other beaches like Wied iz-Zurrieq.

Mizzi explained how more attractions would lead to tourists’ increasing the length of their stay, and that government would be welcoming suggestions by hotel operators, and other stakeholders.

The spoke of the need for systems that allowed hotels and different types of operators to share facilities, noting that it was commendable that there were plans in place for a beach lido in Gzira that is to be used by a number of different hotels.

Among the events the government would like to get going in Malta, he said, were food festivals and other niche music events.

Malta Tourism Authority

Mizzi said the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) would be working towards increased growth in tourist numbers during the low seasons, continued development of routes to Malta, growth in innovative segments, strengthening undeveloped markets and improving Malta’s touristic in general for it to be better able to distinguish itself from competing tourist destinations.

The minister said that it would be developing a legal framework that will cater for the simplification of licensing regimes and will give opportunity for new products types, such as boutique hotels, to be registered.

Moreover, he said that the MTA would also like to work to on an increased supply of human resources and more youths entering the tourism sector.

Mizzi highlighted the need for further collaboration between the Malta International Airport and the MTA, to make up for the loss of certain charter routes. Despite the need to make for certain routes however, he pointed out that it was also a positive development that some cities were being serviced by more than one airline.

He insisted there was a lot of room for growth in the German market, as well as from France, Portugal, Israel, Ireland, as well as the “Nordic countries”.

The MTA, he said, was also working on a number of marketing initiatives, with the aim of developing a “brand strategy that works for Malta”, as well as a diversification of its touristic product.

He explained that while family holidays would remain central to the sector, more needed to be done with respect to English language tourism. Moreover, he said there was significant private sector interest in investment in active holidays, sports holidays, as well as those centred around diving and underwater activities, diving, “movie trails” and LGBTI packages. 

Aggressive growth essential for Air Malta

On Air Malta, Mizzi said reiterated the airline’s importance, insisting there was “room” for a niche carrier based in Malta, that serviced Europe and North Africa and offering the “right connections”.

He insisted that Air Malta had been losing money for a decade and had been slowly moving towards a natural death. With the airlines current cost base, and the number of aircraft and routes being serviced, he said there was the need for “aggressive growth”.

He said the airline needed rebuilding, rather than restructuring, in order for it to be fit for purpose for “this century”, adding that the “change process” would be an aggressive one.

“I am confident we can work with union of cabin crew, pilots, GWU and if we agree that we need to grow we will have a bright future”

He explained that Air Malta stood to make €20 million a year for every additional aircraft is operated, highlighting the need to grow its route network.

In addition to new routes, he said the airline would also be looking to offer a proper business class, as well as different seat packages to ones currently available.

Also on the cards would be changes in the organisation of Air Malta, with Mizzi stating that discussion on whether “certain function” should move from the core of the airline, currently ongoing. 

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