The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has over the past days been engaged in consultation with the Ministry of Tourism about a new law concerning Valletta, allowing music to be played outside until 01:00hrs.
MHRA positively notes that over the past years Valletta has continued to transform itself into a destination in itself. MHRA members have indeed played a critical role on this front by investing millions of euros in developing high end quality accommodation facilities and restaurant operations. MHRA members believe that Valletta can become a high-end destination which ultimately not only reflects its UNESCO heritage site status but also as stated in the national tourism policy to be part of the efforts and process of enhancing the quality dimension of Malta’s tourism offer.
In this light, MHRA is disappointed that there was no consultation by Government with the relevant stakeholders before this important legal notice was enacted. Indeed, the updated law positions Valletta alongside the three entertainment hotspots of Paceville, Buġibba and Qawra for the first time. MHRA believes that such measure will compromise the zoning policy, in other words the possibility of creating a mix of tourism products and concepts across the Maltese islands by guiding investment opportunities in a strategic manner. This legal amendment is putting at high risk that Valletta becomes another nightclub destination which according to MHRA should not be the target of anyone who has at heart the principles of sustainable tourism growth objectives.
MHRA is therefore calling Government to engage with its members to in a comprehensive manner review policies related to the improvement of Valletta as a quality tourism destination in the wider context of the Malta tourism product. This includes for instance the clustering of music activity along the streets of Valletta, street cleansing and waste collection, and joint marketing initiatives amongst others. MHRA reiterates that enforcement remains critical to ensure that the spirit of the National Tourism Policy is actually translated into concrete action, but also there is a need for closer consultation with our members who ultimately are not only keen to ensure that quality remains at the crux of every decision taken related to the further sustainable development of the tourism product in Malta but need clear direction by Government to ensure that our investment strategies complement the national policies. MHRA once again is reaching out to Government to ensure that the amended law will not end up as a loophole in the system which turns Valletta into yet another mass tourism destination.