The Malta Independent 3 October 2022, Monday
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Tourism operators must ensure they do not negatively impact residential communities – ADPD

Sunday, 19 June 2022, 13:26 Last update: about 5 months ago

Tourism operators must ensure that they do not negatively impact the residential communities amongst which they operate, Chairperson of ADPD Carmel Cacopardo has said.

"In a small community like ours, this is a basic and integral requirement in order for tourism to be sustainable," he said.

ADPD Spokesperson Marcus Lauri said that they are continuously receiving complaints from residents in various localities that a number of entertainment establishments have no respect whatsoever for their neighbours. "They pump out music at very loud volumes late into the night. This is taking place in various localities not just here in Valletta."

"The Minister of Tourism doesn't care less about residents and instead of seeking solutions, chose to extend hours in which amplified music is played in Valletta," Lauri said. He added that the problem in Malta is the lack of adequate regulations, and the lack of an enforcement culture.

"The Police do not have the legal tools to be able to effectively enforce regulations. What we have is the Malta Tourism Authority, which is an incompetent regulator."

He said that Tourism Minister Bartolo, instead of getting his enforcement team out onto the beat to ensure that the operations of catering establishments in Valletta respect its residents, succumbed to pressures from the operators and extended the permissible times for loud music from 11pm to 1am.

"Some are saying that nowhere is outdoor amplified sound in residential areas controlled and actually disallowed after 11pm. This is complete nonsense. On the contrary, specific regulations in cities include limits which set the sound levels which are allowed, and even oblige establishments to be properly sound proofed for amplified music to be played. This is what Minister Clayton Bartolo should be working towards," concluded Marcus Lauri.

Carmel Cacopardo explained that sound becomes annoying at over 75 dB and painful at around 120 dB. 10 to 30 dB is like a quiet conversation in a library. 30 to 50 dB is the range of normal conversation or household appliances, he said.

"If one considers as an example Barcelona or Ibiza, competing Mediterranean touristic destinations, sound levels there are strictly regulated in order to ensure that entertainment establishments meet soundproofing criteria and guarantee local residents' right to rest," the ADPD said.

The party said that it is absolutely not true that other tourist hotspots are a free for all. The idea that a free for all should be allowed to serve the interests of the few at the expense of everyone else is an idea "ingrained in the servile minds of the toothless and industry-controlled Malta Tourism Authority," ADPD said.

This is all about being reasonable with residents emphasised Cacopardo. "It brings to the forefront the debate about the social and environmental impacts of tourism. What is the number of tourists with which our resources can reasonably cope?"

The conflicting interests involved in tourism must be addressed through the democratisation of tourism development, the party added. "As a result, the short-term gains of tourism entrepreneurs would be compelled to face the reality of social responsibility, as well as cultural and environmental costs. So far, the tourism operators pocket the profits and we, the rest, face the impacts."

The decision-making process of tourism development should be subjected to more public scrutiny by the community suffering from the impacts which it generates, the party added.

"It is imperative that the views of the community are not only heard but acted upon," concluded Carmel Cacopardo. 

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