Fabian Demicoli

One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities Tourism benefits SMEs in general

This year’s World Tourism Day Theme is “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities”. GRTU is a great believer that tourism creates opportunities not just for the traditional tourism dependent sectors but for businesses in general. This has never been more pronounced than in the last years.

Today’s typical tourist no longer resides in a hotel and goes out only on excursions or to eat at a restaurant. Many tourists today stay in alternative types of accommodation, rent cars to go around the island and make their own visiting plans at their own pace. They buy food and nibbles from grocers and supermarkets to eat on the way to their destination and enjoy that odd relaxing eat in after a day of running around.

Today’s tourists seek the road less travelled and to spend time in our quiet villages and chat and eat with the locals. They look for the authentic Maltese experience.

In its 2016 Budget proposals GRTU is calling for the generation of increased economic activity in our localities. With our country’s small size it makes all the more sense to maximise our space potential and build on the concept of community tourism. Alternative forms of accommodation should be encouraged and incentivised. The popularity of staying in boutique hotels, small guest houses, hostels and even host families has soared drastically in recent years and Malta should be able to cater for such a demand. It is still tourism of high quality and value added but whose priority is the authenticity of the experience.

The value added in the utilization of available resources that could easily materialise with the right incentives. The ripple effect this would have on our economy as a whole could be remarkable. Cafés, Restaurants and retailers will benefit if tourists accommodation spreads from the traditional tourists areas to the localities. The package of incentives should focus on facilitating access to finance, which includes grants, tax credits and advantageous loans. Licensing and standards should also reflect this shift.

World Tourism Day is celebrated every year on the 27 of September. It is a global celebration that highlights tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.

#1billiontourists#WTD2015

 

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