No such thing as gaining from the misfortune of others
During the World Travel Market in London, Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis participated and was chosen to be part of the main panellists during the tenth edition of the United Nations of World Travel Organisation Ministers’ Summit, moderated by CNN correspondent Becky Anderson.
The theme of the discussion was Tourism and Security: Promoting safe and seamless travel. During his address, the minister stated that safety and security are integral parts of any tourism experience. Tourism generally involves people travelling for enjoyment outside of their usual environment, meaning people need to travel with the peace of mind necessary for enjoyment of their leisure time.
“The complex nature of tourism which integrates in a complex manner with the host community and the entire territory of the destination make the management of tourism safety and security a multi-disciplinary action. This means that such risks need to be assessed, managed and discussed by a multitude of agencies each possessing different areas of competence, power and expertise. In such situations a lead agency needs to be identified for all contingencies concerned,” the minister said.
The minister also emphasised that the leadership of international bodies such as the UNWTO, WHO and others is integral to the successful management of such situations particularly when they reach crisis levels.
“In today’s globalised world there is no such thing as gaining from the misfortune of other destinations. Most of the safety and security concerns which negatively influence tourism eventually set off a chain reaction along the tourism supply chain which ultimately negatively influences overall tourism worldwide.”
During the World Travel Market, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and Minister Zammit Lewis were formally invited to a networking event by the Malta High Commission in London aimed at both local and foreign operators operating in the tourism sector in Malta.
During this event, the minister noted that the World Tourism Organisation has praised the growth of the tourism sector in Malta by referring to it as ‘robust and positive’. In addition, the minister pointed out that the latest WTO Barometer published in September notes that global tourism between January and June of this year rose by 4% whereas, for this same period, arrivals to Malta rose above this average, specifically by 9.7%.
Government is making inroads with regards to its policy objective of reducing seasonality patterns. Between January and March of this year, arrivals increased by more than 13% to reach 282,000.
The minister together with senior Malta Tourism Authority officials, also attended a number of meetings with current and forthcoming tour operators and travel agencies interested in its tourism market. During these meetings Dr Zammit Lewis discussed the Maltese tourism product, proposals from the same operators and how government intends to advance the tourism product. In addition, the Tourism Minister held a series of meetings with various airlines operators and examined the prospects of opening new routes to/from our shores.
In light of the Brexit issue, the Minister for Tourism held meetings addressing the British tourism market with travel operators and reaffirmed the government position that British tourists visiting the Maltese Islands in post-Brexit times would continue to benefit from the same conditions. The minister received very positive feedback on the UK source market from the main tour operators for 2017.
The World Travel Market is the prime tourism fair held annually in London with more than 50,000 visitors, mainly operators from the international tourism sphere.