Marketing fund must be used at the
right time MHRA
The Malta Hotel and Restaurants Association is hoping that their initiative
for the setting up of a special fund specifically for public relations
and marketing in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks
and resulting war will give the tourism industry a much-needed boost,
but they still believe the main problem that needs addressing in the
sector is the problem of seasonality.
Following the events of 11 September, the Malta Hotel and Restaurants
Association decided to take steps to set up a fund which would be used
for additional marketing of Malta as a holiday destination, over and
above the standard activities of this kind carried out annually.
The MHRA asked its members to make a contribution to the kitty, on the
understanding that the government would likewise contribute the same
proportion to specifically market and promote Malta as the attractive
and safe destination it has always been. An agreement between the two
sides has been reached in principle and the fund, which it is expected
to be of a substantial amount, will be administered by the Malta Tourism
MHRA president, Anthony Chircop, told The Malta Financial and Business
Times that the one-off contributions each of the associations
members made were benchmarked to 10 per cent of the annual contribution
payable to the MTA for marketing and promotional purposes.
He added that although the MTA would decide the kind of marketing and
public relations it needed, the MHRAs own view is that in the
current economic climate, timing is vital for marketing holiday destinations.
"We believe that taking the present situation into consideration,
when people are concerned about travelling, it is probably best to allow
things to settle, before launching this campaign," he said.
He added that although Malta is definitely not perceived as a risky
destination in the way that some other resorts closer to possible hotspots
are, the problem is simply that tourists are at present afraid to fly,
irrespective of where they are going.
"We hope if things calm down, this sense of worry will ease off
in a while," he said. "If there are no other incidents and
everything settles a little, we believe that would be the right time
to give a start to this campaign. "
Mr Chircop admitted that as would be expected, bookings for winter are
low, but he added that until the problem of seasonality is addressed
properly, things will never be satisfactory during the forthcoming months
These are always difficult months - irrespective of the current situation.
"This is a problem we have to deal with year after year,"
he said. "The MHRA has long been insisting with the authorities
to re-position Malta with a view to targeting out-of-season tourism,
especially niche markets, while proceeding with the necessary upgrading
needed to be able to successfully attract the more culturally oriented