“MHRA “Aim for a Sustainable Tourism Strategy”

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) presented the Deloitte -BOV Quarter 2 – 2023 Performance Review for Hotels observing that based on the data collected from hotels, and other stakeholders, the number of tourist arrivals for year 2023 promises to surpass the previous 2019 record.

Michael Zarb, Deloitte Director, Economic and Policy Advisory, stated that Q2 was un-doubtably very positive for Malta’s hotel sector – benefiting all hotels in our sample, irrespective size, age, and location. Mr Zarb asserted that “Unless demand weakens during the rest of the year, we appear on track to reach or even exceed 2019 levels.”

Mr Zarb also remarked that sustainability however remains an open question. With reference to the Carrying Capacity Study for Tourism in the Maltese Islands commissioned by MHRA and published in September 2022, Mr Zarb stated that it revealed multiple areas of stress in our overall product. “The key concern here is that, without investments to better deal with higher volumes, Malta’s market positioning might decline, requiring ever higher volumes, and a larger environmental and societal footprint, to sustain the existing economic and
financial performance.”

MHRA President Tony Zahra stated that the overall results being achieved this year by Hotels were positive, and emphasised that such results should not be taken for granted, whilst reminding all the importance of the tourism sector to the Maltese economy. Mr Zahra referred to the challenges being faced by MHRA members not only those related to an increase in costs, but significantly those related to the sustainability of the results being achieved to-date. Mr Zahra emphasised that to
become future proof we now need to all together – Government along with the private sector -steer initiatives towards sustainable objectives. “Given the size of our country we must now concentrate on doing things better not bigger!! We must have a better tourism product and a better hospitality service; Better infrastructure including roads, energy, and wastewater management; Better governance; Better education and access to culture for all; Better environment and cleaner surroundings; Better management of our population and working force; Making Malta a Better experience for all – for those who live in it and for those who visit it.

One can always find someone who can do it cheaper, but it gets much more difficult when one does it better. So, we need better and more clever investment both by the public sector and the private sector, but equally important better and more clever management on all fronts.
Mr Zahra emphasised that our collective aim should be that to become futureproof, and the only way to do it is to focus on doing things better on all fronts.