The Malta Independent 23 May 2022, Monday

Updated (3): Former Tourism Minister Michael Refalo dies, aged 78

Tuesday, 3 February 2015, 09:23 Last update: about 8 years ago

Former Tourism Minister Michael Refalo died this morning in Sliema, aged 78.

Born in Sliema, Dr Refalo studied at St Aloysius College and graduated as a lawyer in 1961. In his University days, he was president of the Students Representative Council.

He was elected with the Nationalist Party for the first time in 1971 (he was not elected in 1962 and 1966) and was elected in subsequent elections until 1998, serving as a member of Parliament for 33 years.

(Dr Refalo - second from right - with Francis Zammit Dimech, the late Censu Tabone and the Late George Bonello du Puis during a PN activity in the 1970s)

In 1987, he was appointed parliamentary secretary for tourism, a post to which he was reappointed in 1992.

(Dr Refalo with former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi)

Dr Refalo, in an interview he had given to The Malta Independent, had set the target of tourism arrivals to one million a year, a target which was subsequently reached and surpassed in later years.

In 1995, he was appointed minister for justice and culture and in 1998 for tourism and culture. He was also the editor of Il-Mument between 1972 and 1980.

(Dr Refalo presenting his credentials as Malta's High Commissioner to the UK to Queen Elizabeth)

In 2005, Dr Refalo was appointed Malta’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, a post he held until October 2008.

He married Blanche Smith in 1963 and they have a son, Edward, and three daughters, Angela, Tin and Nichola.

In a statement, Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil thanked Dr Refalo for his work in the PN and as a minister, mentioning in particular his being instrumental in the setting up of the newspaper Il-Mument.

He recalled Dr Refalo's endeavour in the tourism sector and said that, in the earlier part of his political career, Dr Refalo had worked towards the attaintment of Independence, He is one of the longest-ever serving MPs, with 33 years of service to the Maltese Parliament.

The Nationalist Party expressed its sorrow and extended its condolences to the Refalo family.

In a statement, the Labour Party also expressed its sorrow, saying that Dr Refalo had worked hard for the country's progress, in particular the tourism sector.

The government also issued a statement, saying that Malta had lost a personality who left an impact and gave economic impetus for the country to move forward

Dr Refalo worked hard for Malta to obtain one of its major achievements, Independence, and worked in the tourism and culture fields.

The government expressed its appreciation for Dr Refalo's work and extended its condolences to his family.


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