Best practices of EU funded tourism projects publication launched
A publication featuring a selection of projects funded by the Grant Scheme for Tourism Enterprises (2004-2006) has been launched as part of the programme of activities marking the fifth anniversary of Malta’s accession to the European Union.
The 32-page booklet, compiled by MEUSAC in collaboration with the Tourism and Sustainable Development Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister, is the third in the series entitled L-Unjoni Ewropea Għalija (The EU for me).
The publication launch was held at The Victoria Hotel in the presence of the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, the Hon. Mario De Marco, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Dialogue and Information, the Hon. Chris Said.
Dr de Marco said that in the current times when the tourism industry is facing certain challenges, it is important for both the public and private sector to take that necessary action to address our tourism offer. He added that government has earmarked €120 million from the 2007-2013 structural funds for tourism related projects varying from a new bay in Qawra, to a promenade in St Paul’s Bay and restoration of bastions amongst others.
He also mentioned that €10 million of these funds will be made available directly for the private sector for sustainable tourism projects. In fact, the first call has already closed and 91 applications have been submitted. These are currently being evaluated and the second call will be issued in October. A third and final call will be issued next year. He concluded his short address by calling on tourism related operators to participate and to make sure that the submitted projects are in line with the requisites of the Scheme.
Dr Said stated that 14 best practice examples have been featured out of the 54 organisations that benefited from the Tourism Grant Scheme. He said that EU funding for the 2004-2006 period had a positive impact on the careers of around 1,700 employees working withinin the tourism sector and helped them acquire new skills related to their job and the services they provide to tourists.
The Grant Scheme for Tourism Enterprises (2004-2006) with a budget of around €3 million targeted serviced tourist accommodation establishments, farmhouses, catering establishments, English language schools, diving operations, private museums and tourism attractions, travel operators (incoming) and private tourism training centres or institutes.
Dr Vanni Xuereb, Head of MEUSAC thanked the Tourism and Sustainable Unit within OPM for their collaboration in making the best practice publication possible. Since the inception of MEUSAC’s Funding Unit it has assisted in the submission of 97 applications by Local Councils and NGOs under various EU Programmes, stated Dr Xuereb.
The event was also addressed by Ms Claire Xuereb from The Victoria Hotel who said the hotel has invested in the installation of a room energy management system through the grant scheme. The system enables the hotel to operate more efficiently whilst using less energy sources, and it brings the hotel closer to eco-certification.