The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Planning and project management are not a strong point for the government

Julian Zarb Saturday, 17 February 2024, 06:28 Last update: about 3 months ago

This week I was appalled at the shambles that the islands' infrastructure is in today. There are roads that have been repaired, resurfaced, dug up again, repaired and resurfaced countless times; in my own village - Iklin - the contractors have been working on a road (PP Saydon) for over three months without any sign of completion this side of the millennium! And this road is just half a kilometer long.


We need not mention the consistent building of hideous blocks of "Fletsijiet" without any care for aesthetics or landscaping. This island is in dire need of a government and authority that knows about professional planning. I remember better times when the Malta Environmental Planning Authority produced local plans, Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments. Today these are no longer considered in the public interest because the government and authorities have their personal agendas for financial and political gain.

We need to understand that a lack of planning will lead to the destruction of these islands as an attractive tourist destination. We speak (at least one person speaks) of quality tourism without any idea what this entails and means. The conflict between erratic development, uglification and destruction of character and tourism goes on and it looks as if this government cares little if it wins over tourism (let alone quality tourism).

But, as usual I try and put in my penny's worth of good practices in the six stages of how we can improve this sad and depressing situation before the ultimate destruction takes place:

1.           Development needs to be of interest to all members of the local community if you value any acceptable quality of life.

2.           It is time those involved with the institutionalized vandalism of these islands by development and unmanaged projects are named, shamed and brought to justice.

3.           We all must adopt a sense of responsibility and belonging that makes us aware of this destruction.

4.           Never accept such behaviour from authorities and the government or develop that endanger your quality of life on these wonderful islands - use your civic duties and rights to stop this barbarism and vandalism.

5.           Let us work together, I am ready to help you take the appropriate action to make these islands feel like home for you and all visitors.

6.           Those people who are destroying your home must be named and shamed . Let us start by compiling a list of the people and their actions against our home.


By following these six stages, we can ensure that these islands are managed professionally, sustainably and with the idea of developing a quality activity that attracts the visitor who wants to be here not the one who wants to be here.  Travel and tourism to these islands today is about quantitative gains for the greedy and uncouth.  We need to put professionalism and hospitality back in the equation.

In the next months I will be completing the Guidelines for Stewardships with the help of a number of individuals and NGOs who have already approached me and I hope to present this to you, as the community, to our politicians and to our authorities.  We may, yet, be able to save these islands from total oblivion as a sustainable and quality tourist destination – that is my New Year’s resolution. Will YOU join me? Let us get together now to start to compile these guidelines.


Recommendations and Summary:


1.                   Let us build community spirit by developing the guidelines for Stewardship together; I invite all those interested to contact me.

2.                  We should identify areas where we can regenerate local tourism for the quality visitor.

3.                  Recognize our duty as communities to enhance our environment and care for the precious trees that will add value to our moral, ethical and physical quality of life.

4.                  Those NGOs and persons (including local councils) interested in  working with me on this project should email me on [email protected] or call me on 99167805.

5.                  Let us get going - let us really build better and reverse the horrendous state of this island.



Dr Julian Zarb is a researcher, local tourism planning consultant and an Academic at the University of Malta. He has also been appointed as an Expert for the High Streets Task Force in the UK.  His main area of research is community-based tourism and local tourism planning using the integrated approach.

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