A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Malta Tourism Authority and the University of Malta. During a visit to the Institute of Tourism, Travel and Culture (ITTC) at the University of Malta, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli announced that this agreement will lead to a yearly grant of €5000.
With such a grant in place, the ITTC will be in a position to carry out further research, carry out analysis of data collected by the MTA regarding the Maltese tourism industry, as required, and co-organise and co-host, together with the MTA, an annual conference regarding tourism. MTA will also sponsor an award for the best dissertation project in tourism, together with a token to be given to the supervisor and the student of the winning research project. This was explained by Deputy CEO and Chief Officer for Strategic Development at MTA Mr Leslie Vella.
Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli expressed her satisfaction towards the collaboration between the Malta Tourism Authority and the University of Malta, that has been further strengthened through the signing of this MOU. The Minister spoke about the need to embrace sustainable principles and practices in tourism as early as possible in the students' journey towards joining the tourism industry. She also showed her gratitude towards the University's commitment towards equipping students with the necessary skills to increase Malta's outreach as a tourism destination once they join the working world.
University of Malta Rector Prof Alfred J. Vella, whilst showing his gratitude towards this joint collaboration, said that, "being one of the University's richest resources and appeals for tourists to visit Malta, our human capital deserves all the recognition it gets. I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to discuss how the Ministry and the University can jointly increase Malta's appeal and outreach as a touristic destination, by giving our tourism students more international mobility, more study opportunities, more professional work experience, and the right tools to practise sustainable tourism once they are part of the industry."
UM Pro-Rector Dr Godfrey Baldacchino likewise stated that, "we are very keen on enhancing our relationship with the Ministry, particularly by regularly meeting with key stakeholders and bridging the gap between the tourism student population and the industry practitioners. Dr Baldacchino said that it is rewarding to see our tourism students be successful in their individual careers, but it is far more fulfilling to see their endeavours translate into increased outreach for Malta as a sustainable tourism destination of choice. "After all, the route to tourism sustainability passes through culture. This is what has uplifted Malta's tourism industry beyond the 'sun, sea and sand' model of other island tourism destinations," concluded Dr Baldacchino.
Minister Farrugia Portelli thanked both the MTA and the UOM for their continuous efforts, and concluded that she looks forward to further enhancing the relationship between the Ministry and the University of Malta.