On Sunday, Nigel Spiteri, Procurement Manager at Hilton Malta, stated that now that Malta has reached a positive trend in the tourism sector, it must apply a holistic approach "to change the perception of our country".

In a lengthy LinkedIn post, Mr Spiteri reiterated Prime Minister Robert Abela’s sentiments that now that Malta has reached the numbers it needed in the sector, the islands’ strategy must shift to attract quality rather than quantity.

Citing the National Statistics Office (NSO)’s publication on inbound tourism, Mr Spiteri referenced that the spending per capita between January to August 2023 increased from €871 in 2022 to 888 in 2023. “However, it falls short of reaching the spend per capital of 2021, which was at €975 per capita. During the last year, pre-pandemic in 2019, the spending per capita was €807.”

He remarked that after analysing these figures and the general plea of stakeholders in the sector and the general public, the consensus is that "it is time to start the mindset shift".

“Serious discussions need to take place with all stakeholders involved. Intrinsic strategic decisions can be taken, such as securing connections to specific countries that yield high-end tourism activity and targeted marketing. However, one should take this approach holistically,” he reiterated.

What should the new strategy include? Mr Spiteri lists five key aspects:

  • Infrastructure: He believes that the country should reverse the negative perception/reality through effective and efficient project management.

  • Cleanliness: Despite Mr Spiteri noting public officials cleaning tourist hot spots, he asks whether Malta is managing by crisis. “What are the issues leading to this situation? Waste collection method or schedule, lack of enforcement?”

  • Traffic Management: He argues that significant development has led to a chaotic situation in the Maltese roads. “I am not against development; however, with the benefit of hindsight, the island should have planned for such an economic boom.”

  • Prices: According to Mr Spiteri, “it is undisputable” that the island suffered from inflation. He expressed his belief that first it emanated from the impact of the pandemic and, subsequently, the Ukraine-Russia war. On the other hand, he stated, that the impression is that “some businesses charge the clients unfair prices, abusing and citing the effect of inflation on their purchases and services.” Therefore, he said that the industry must ensure that pricing is fair and justified.

  • A disciplined country: He affirmed that as a country, “we have rules, we have our culture and most importantly, we have laws.” He added that the islands need to make sure regulations are observed, starting with its people. “And why not, even with those tourists disobeying and disrespecting such rules.”

Mr Spiteri concluded with an appeal: “No magic will attract high-quality tourism… Let’s make this change. Let’s start now.”

Main Image:

Hilton Malta Procurement Manager Nigel Spiteri - LinkedIn

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Written By

Anthea Cachia

Anthea has a passion for writing, meeting new people and telling stories. With an insatiable curiosity Anthea loves roaming localities in search of long-established small businesses. When not scribbling away on a notebook or tapping on her computer, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen or traveling.