12 JUNE 2002
The Malta Tourism Authority yesterday launched its second strategic plan covering the 2002 to 2004 period.
Addressing yesterdays launch, Tourism Minister Michael Refalo commented, "The most pivotal aspect of MTAs Strategic Plan is a recognition of the need for long-term continuing investment in all that Malta offers visitors." He adds that the plan "presents and offers Maltese and Gozitans with the opportunity to play a role in the development and advance of the nations largest industry."
As such, the new plan addresses five distinct challenges faced by Maltas tourism industry, namely: that no repositioning can be addressed without a change in the product;
that no shifts in quality levels can be achieved without seeking to spread arrivals more evenly throughout the year, so that the full benefit of Maltas offer could be utilised without seeking to pile more pressure on the peak months;
that no repositioning could be sustainable without effective product delivery and a commitment to service quality, particularly in a people industry where hospitality is of essence;
that product-oriented efforts can only have a lasting effect if the relationship between the various interested parties and stakeholders is forged into a network of alliances where motivation, co-ordination and a sense of common achievement are promoted;
and finally that reaching out to the market, both through conventional and especially by new means of communications and distribution, is fundamental to ensure that international travellers are aware and well informed of Maltas offer, and can thus be lured to the destination by influencing their choice and affecting their purchase.
Meanwhile, MTA Chairman John C. Grech explained how the new strategic plan seeks to address the major tasks and challenges that have been identified by the MTA, in consultation with the tourism industrys stakeholders.
Referring to the Authoritys first strategic plan, Dr Grech says that the MTAs mission and strategic objectives as originally laid out in this document, "still stand and will continue to be firmly adhered to by the organisation. That plan was oriented towards building the organisation on solid foundations, addressing the wide remit of the MTA and the need to pursue aggressively the repositioning of the Malta product on the international market."
Since then, according to Dr Grech, there has been a fundamental shift, "where the Malta product was redefined to rest on Maltas unique value proposition, away from the more traditional plain vanilla sun and sea product to one which adds the ingredients of Maltese hospitality, our rich heritage and the natural attractiveness of our islands." More specifically, "Malta was now portrayed as being a fun place that discerning travellers would choose rather than drift to after being lured by last-minute discounts."
However, the MTA chairman said that this "strategic journey" could not be complete without the Authority focusing on the fundamental challenges which had to be overcome in order for it to achieve its objectives. The five challenges that new strategic plan addresses are that
Dr Grech went on to state, "The challenge faced by the MTA and the entire Maltese tourism industry is a formidable one. The commitment of the Authority, however, is equally firm."
MTA Chief Executive Mr Leslie Vella, on the other hand, described the extensive consultation that accompanied the formulation of the strategic plan, a continuous process which saw the participation of the industrys stakeholders at every stage.
Mr Vella focused on the holistic approach the Authority will be adopting in implementing the new strategic plan, detailing the structure which has been put in place in order to tackle the key strategic issues which have been identified.
Within this context he refers to the working groups, composed of MTA directorates and divisions staff members, that have been set up to focus upon and implement action plans relevant to particular issues. Such working groups will also monitor progress in the implementation of these plans.