18 July 2001
The duck and the golden egg
Hoteliers and tour operators know very well that Malta has its limitations. But after having been close to destroying the duck that lays the golden egg, the people who have made it their mission to make a quick buck are now coming to terms with the fact that the country is a mess and are now crying wolf.
Like the uglier parts of the southern coast of France, the south west coast of Spain or Athens sprawling suburbs, Malta has little or nothing to offer when it comes to sea and shore.
Hoteliers complain of sewage outflows but ignore the fact that most
of the excrement flowing into the seas originates from many of the hotel
establishments scattered across the Island.
Worse still, they talk of limited places to swim, but they somehow neglect to mention the fact that beaches and shorelines are swallowed up by the irregular lidos complimenting ugly concrete hotels.
Now that the bulk of tourists are young low budget students everyone is grumble mode. Middle-aged, high budget tourists prefer the Canary Islands, the Tunisian coast or secluded Greek Islands.
At every interval in our brief history the government has always come up for some flak. Disorganised, visionless, and non-committal are the typical terms used to describe the authorities.
However, the sad reality is that the private sector is not very far off when it comes to lacking vision, organisation and commitment.
What has the hotel industry concretely contributed to the problem of the shoreline and the sea, in terms of pounds, shillings and pence.
The only term that appears to be commonly upheld by one and all is Greed.
Over the ages we have seen the quality of our surroundings deteriorate and slip further. In doing so, we have taken the visitors to our islands for granted.
What do they see before their eyes? They see a shoddy countryside, buildings everywhere, rubble, litter, traffic galore, pollution at sea and in the air.
If anyone had to come here with the misconception of visiting an idyllic island, their mistake becomes blatant after the first thirty minutes.
As we discuss golf courses, incineration and other thorny subjects, we tend to forget about other more demanding issues.
Such as the general state of our environment, a blemish that is contributing in no small way to scaring away the right tourists with the right budgets.
The Mintoffian module
The demise of the Price Club is the governments fault, at least
that is the impression we have when we read what Marie Louise Coleiro
and Dr Karl Chircop had to say yesterday.
The downfall of the Price Club came about through banking procedures that prevent companies from borrowing and borrowing endlessly.
Ms Coleiro, whose respect for the concept of non-state intervention
in the private sector is shady to say the least, also went so far as
to mention the Daewoo case - forgetting in the process that the previous
Daewoo owners had obtained certain banking facilities under a Labour
appointed chairman and a Labour government. Politicians such as Ms Coleiro
and Dr Karl Chircop should accept that the government has no future
role in intervening in the private sector. Unfortunately, their thinking
is spun by the sages at Mile End who control the thinking processes
they (Coleiro & Chircop) express in lengthy fax messages.