Tourism, Culture and the Arts

Tourism is one of Malta’s most important economic pillars. Moreover, money earned through tourism percolates to practically all sectors of the population. Francis Zammit Dimech managed in 2008 to achieve an absolute record in the number of tourists arriving in Malta.

That followed the introduction for the first time ever in our aviation history of low cost carriers – I had felt strongly that Malta could not be left out of this equation since one needs to bear in mind new travel trends and tourists’ own preferences when seeing to the needs of the tourism industry.

Apart from ensuring the required capacity to bring in tourists to our country, tourism depends largely on the quality of the product offered. In this respect Francis worked on upgrading the tourism zones with such projects as the St Julian’s / Sliema promenade as well as establishing Malta’s first ever blue flag beach – St George’s Bay that has been a tremendous success and has set the standard for future developments.
A particular achievement was to ensure that three major public – private sector projects kick off and become part of our fabric – that is the Valletta Cruise Liner passenger terminal, the Manoel Island / Tigne’ development project and the Cottonera Waterfront project inclusive of a new high end yacht marina catering for large yachts.

Malta as a product is very much what our Identity is all about. Our cultural heritage is a crucial component of that heritage and such institutions as Heritage Malta, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage as well as Patrimonju Malta were given the necessary autonomy and means to value, protect and enhance various aspects of our cultural heritage. One of the leading projects has been ensuring that Malta’s oldest prehistoric temples are well preserved for the future through the construction of a lightweight and removable tent as well as by setting up a Visitors’ Centre that offers persons coming over a more thorough experience of the significance of these temples.

In the arts’ field, the greatest achievement has been the St James Cavalier – Centre for Creativity project. A Cavalier that had been abandoned to become the government printing press was transformed into a vibrant arts’ centre with spaces available for drama in the ‘theatre-in-the-round’, art exhibitions, artistic cinema, music, choreography and special events for children.

Francis considers that the real path for further future growth is through the arts, creativity and innovation. These are the ‘energisers’ for our future and the more that government appreciates their importance, the higher will be quality of our way of life.

See my track record in Tourism, Culture and the Arts