The Malta Independent 16 October 2018, Tuesday

President presides over signing of MoU aiming for peace, prosperity through tourism

Tuesday, 13 February 2018, 13:01 Last update: about 9 months ago

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation (MTF) and the Union for the Mediterranean this morning.

At a press conference held at San Anton Palace, Coleiro Preca was joined by Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi, President of the MTF (MHRA) Tony Zahra, secretary gngeral of the MTF Andrew Agius Muscat and Union for Mediterranean Ambassador Marisa Farrugia. 

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The MTF is governed by a council which has representation from a number of Mediterranean countries.

“Its ethos is about building peace through tourism. It is an important tool to bring people together.

The Union for the Mediterranean is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together the 28 EU member states and 15 countries from the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It also provides a unique forum to enhance regional cooperation and dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Sijilmassi said that the MOU is symbolic because Malta has always been a key player.

“I would like to strongly recognise the active role that Malta has played in the EU presidency. The EU-Mediterranean partnership is aimed at building prosperit and peace in this part of the world.  The tourism sector summarises what we are aiming for: mutual understanding, growth and development.”

Zahra called on Malta to observe its best practices in the tourism sector and export them overseas to other Mediterranean countries. 

It was said that there will be three main areas of collaboration: energy efficiency, tourism education and a Mediterranean music project.

In early March, there will be a launch where the Maltese hotel sector will act as the leader in energy efficiency.

“We want to share the efforts invested over the years with Mediterranean neighbours.”

In terms of tourism education, it will be linked with intercultural studies as this is the foundation for peace.

“Through our courses and master classes organised across the Mediterranean, the area of tourism will be linked to peace.”

On the music project, it was said that the Mediterranean is lacking in terms of a musical identity.

“Music brings people together and on 2 March we will be launching a Mediterranean orchestra, which will support a Mediterranean music festival.”

In general, the MOU has been signed with the aim of:

Capitalising on tourism’s potential to advance sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, decent employment, women and youth empowerment and poverty alleviation; Promoting the contribution of tourism to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation, enhancing resource efficiency and investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation;

Bolstering the links between sustainable tourism and cultural values, diversity and heritage; Harnessing the transformative power of tourism in the promotion of intercultural and interfaith dialogue, tolerance and understanding, as the building blocks of peace and security; and Identification and development of projects for possible Union for the Mediterranean labelling, with a special focus on those targeting sustainable development.

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