Malta: Working for a Sustainable Future – Sustain Europe

Malta: Working for a Sustainable Future - Sustain Europe

Tourism and Sustainability in Malta

Tourism remains a significant pillar of the Maltese economy, contributing 29% to our Gross Domestic Product. Over recent years, Malta has seen continuous growth in tourism, with arrivals nearly reaching 2 million, marking a 10.5% increase compared to previous years.

While these increases benefit the economy through revenue generation and job creation, they also strain the islands’ infrastructure and environment. To address this, the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) collaborates with both public and private stakeholders to promote sustainable tourism practices and minimize negative impacts.

Despite Malta’s small size and lack of extensive natural areas, efforts are focused on protecting and managing key sites like the Pembroke Garigue Heritage Park, a Natura 2000 site. This park, supported by an EU-funded project, features a reversible cycle path and restored heritage buildings. MTA continues to support its maintenance in partnership with NGOs like Nature Trust and Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna.

MTA is also involved in expanding conservation efforts in Delimara and Xrobb l-Għaġin. Rural tourism initiatives have been implemented, including rural walks and village enhancements in Qrendi, Safi, and Zurrieq.

Water Quality and Beach Management

Investments in sewage purification have significantly improved bathing water quality around the Maltese Islands, resulting in numerous Blue Flag awards for local beaches. MTA manages several beaches and collaborates with the Ministry for Gozo and NGOs like The Gaia Foundation to oversee others in Malta, Comino, and Gozo.

Accommodation and Environmental Standards

MTA launched the Eco-Certification scheme in 2002 to promote environmental practices among accommodation providers. This voluntary initiative, expanded to include various forms of lodging, has elevated environmental standards across the sector.

Future Directions

As the demand for sustainable travel grows, so will expectations from eco-conscious travelers. Destinations and service providers that demonstrate genuine commitment to environmental stewardship will increasingly appeal to these discerning tourists. Protecting and nurturing the environment is crucial for securing a sustainable future for tourism.