Tui group calls for better tourism
The challenge that Malta has ahead of it if it wants to improve its
tourism industry has been highlighted in a list of proposals compiled
by leading tour operator Tui Schone Ferien, also known as
World of Tui and handed over to its Maltese partners.
Tui, which is the world's leading tourism and services group, encompassing
Thomsons, Lunn Poly and Airtours, cites a number of improvements that
it would like to see made, including an upgrading of the public infrastructure,
the adaption of hotels to international standards and increased competitivity
in relation to other destinations.
Silvio Debono, who co-owns the recently-opened Grand Hotel Mercure Coralia
San Antonio in St Pauls Bay, highlighted Tuis proposals
while being interviewed by this newspaper.
Mr Debono admitted he would like to see much more government input when
it comes to improving the tourism product.
"The government could certainly do more in terms of upgrading the
infrastructure and public areas, to bring these on a par with countries
that are competing with us," he said. "Developers are investing
in hotels, but the facilities outside them leave much to be desired.
"I am all for encouraging cultural tourism, but other markets cannot
be tapped because we do not have the facilities. If we need better beaches
and more golf courses, then lets go for them."
Mr Debono, who together with partner Tony Zahra has made an investment
of some Lm10 million in the new hotel, formerly the Hyperion, added
that the work should be done before the product is marketed, rather
than vice versa.
"We know that competition is tough, and we need all the support
we can get to help beat it," he said.
Tui, which has over 3,000 travel agencies and a fleet of around 70 aircraft
of the carriers Hapag-Lloyd Flug and Britannia, titled its list of proposals
"How to further improve the touristic situation in Malta".
Alongside the upgrading of public infrastructure, the group called for
improvements to the towns attraction in the main tourist areas,
while mentioning the need for the provision of artificial beaches and
better public transport and facilities.
Tui also said that there needed to be an improvement in the hotel product.
"There is a necessity for hotels to be adapted to international
standards and a need for renovation programmes," the report said.
The group further highlighted the need for Maltas prices to be
competitive compared to other Mediterranean destinations. There must
be value for money, it said, while prices must be adapted to the quality
of the hotel.
The tour operator also warned against extreme price increases from one
year to another.