31 JULY 2002
The Malta Tourism Authority has completed a recruitment drive which has seen 20 new employees being added to the Authority's complement of marketing, enforcement and administrative executives and operatives.
Addressing a press conference on the drive yesterday, Tourism Minister Michael Refalo commented, "The Authority's policy is to see that all MTA members follow the highest professional and ethical standards." He also expressed his certainty the Authority's new recruits would repay the MTA's trust and perform their duties with integrity, industry and impartiality.
Turning to the new members of the ITS academic staff, the Minister explained that "Tourism is Malta's lifeblood. An increased student complement at ITS, which in recent years has grown from 250 to around 800 annually, necessarily calls for a proportionately larger academic staff.
You carry a great responsibility as the future of the hospitality industry depends on the way you teach and prepare tomorrow's generation of managers, executives and operatives.
"Classroom and demonstration time only constitutes part of your duties. You must be your student's mentors, best friends and at the same time strict task masters. The professionalism, self discipline and organisation which ITS students will learn from you will reflect in their endeavours and activity when they begin their chosen career in the hospitality industry."
Addressing the new marketing executives, Dr Refalo explained how the MTA's complement was now complete and that in time they could be called upon to serve overseas in MTA's offices abroad.
"Even before you achieve those positions you must remember that in the world of hospitality your role is similar to that of ambassadors. You will travel overseas to fairs and undertake missions, you will host the Authority's guests, journalists and operators, and you must therefore always remember that, in foreigners eyes, the way in which you go about your duties and the way you behave, form perceptions and reflect the attitude and professionalism of Malta's travel industry."
The Minister recalled that criticism usually levelled by hoteliers and tour operators at tourism's enforcement arm was that the public sector's inspectorate was manned by persons who did not have hands on experience or professional qualifications.
Continues on page 19Minister Refalo said that he thought this criticism unjustified. The HCEB inspectorate's main failing was that there were too few persons manning the unit. The current MTA complement is now fifteen, three times what it was previously, and enforcement officers have the necessary mix of professional skills and experience.
"I believe, that in time, to have an efficient inspectorate, one that can truly and effectively regulate the industry under the wider powers and duties which MTA has under the Travel and Tourism Services Act, further recruitment is necessary."
Minister Refalo told the new enforcement officers that their primary duty was to educate, assist and advise tourism operators and not simply castigate and discipline.
"You must be the industry's friends and partners and help operators improve services and compliance to standards. Always remember that it is your duty to see that laws are observed and when people are silly enough not to follow your advice, or worse, continue to defy the law and your directions, then you should not shirk from applying the full rigour of the law.
"However you must always see that the provisions of the law are in all instance applied fairly and impartially without fear or favour."