14 January 2004

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Product Malta must be brought up to scratch - Zahra

In today’s Malta Financial and Business Times’ interview (see pages 10-11), Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association president Winston J Zahra says how the ill-portents of hotel unsustainability are coming to light following warnings issued by the MHRA.
"When a certain number of properties leave the market, due to unsustainability or to grab other opportunities in other sectors to make money, it is not a good sign. The positive spin would be that this is a reduction of bed stock, but that is not the right way to justify the hotel closures. The closures are indicative of a problem that we forecasted and warned about, and one that we have to sit down and address. When a hotel closes and turns into real estate, the jobs that are lost are not replaced."

Asked whether Government was addressing the problem, Zahra replied: "I am not seeing anything that is being done specifically. I don’t expect Government to bale anyone out, but it has to provide the necessary infrastructure and support to make sure the industry has the best chances."
Zahra said one of the problems in Malta’s tourism industry was a mismatch between the product offered and that what is professed. "If we want to secure a future in tourism we have to bring up to scratch both hardware and software – us, the people, the hospitality we offer – we have to see to the

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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