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dimanche, septembre 10, 2006

Insufficiency & Intelligent Tourism


Today's Sunday TOM Editorial kicks off with a nice title. "Low-cost is not enough". The editor seems to appreciate the introduction of the new low-cost routes and reserves some praise for this step in what he deems is the right direction. However the editorial also adds that the low-cost airlines alone will not suffice to attract tourism. In a sort of eye-opening moment for the more general of readerships we can recognise the acknowledgement of the existence of a new breed of tourist. This kind of tourist is the one who is armed with an internet connection and prepares his trip independently from any managers of mass movement - better known as tour operators. The editorial stresses the need for Malta to accomodate these new tourists needs - particularly by becoming more available on the internet. Malta and its tourist industry need to have a stronger presence on the net in order to catch the much wider net of tourism that is now available.

I can see the logic behind this belated comment by the Times Editor. Anyone who has purchased a low-cost airline ticket knows that once the final purchase transaction for your trip is over you do not turn off the computer. Nope. Your next step is to book accomodation (on computer), possibly book a car or research transport (train, weekend tickets etc - all on computer) and finally you will check out what's on and where in your new destination (also on your computer). Some of these searches will have already occurred preliminarily before booking the trip itself. In essence a strong net presence is very, very important for the country - or city - you plan to visit. If the outlook from internet searches is gloomy then you might very easily opt for another more accessible country. Virtual reality has to be as attractive as the real thing.

Much as I love to discuss the merits and demerits of the attractiveness of Malta as a tourist detination and much as I understand the importance of the tourist industry to the Maltese economy, my primary motivation for the constant rants about low-cost airlines in J'accuse was not tourism. Not at all. I was more concerned about travelling OUT of Malta rather than in. You know what I mean. Getting the average Maltese person to travel more and see the world. Releasing the pent-up frustration that inevitably stocks these tiny islands' people. The low-cost airlines are a parallel and as necessary a development as incentives to tertiary education. They are the door to a better future based on a well-travelled population.

It may sound bombastic at this point but I am sure that less Hamilton Tours and more Do-It-Yourself will help this nation regain a bit of the balls that it has lost along the way ever since Mintoff decided to get the people to accept the concept of nanny state and the idea that there will always be someone to do things for you. Maybe one day we will understand that nobody owes us a living.

3 commentaires:

Arcibald a dit…

"I was more concerned about travelling OUT of Malta rather than in."

Well said - there's also Daphne's article about the very same topic: http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=38519

Also - Madeira's way to look at tax is interesting and makes sense after all. But that only works when you're confident enough about your product/service, since you don't need to kiss the tourist's ass to make ends meet.

Sabine a dit…

Incidentally, I've also been waiting for us based in Malta to get some better deals, for a change. So first thing I checked was how much it would cost me to travel to Dublin and back, between 8th and 15th February. That'll be 141 Euros. Not bad at all.

Then the mindboggling discovery: the price from Dublin to Malta and back (same period): 94.51 Euros.

(Prices including all taxes, by the way!)

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