6 MARCH 2002

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Tui group calls for better tourism product

By Miriam Dunn
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 Paul’s Bay, highlighted Tui’s 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 let’s 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 town’s 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 Malta’s 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.


The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt