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Applications for hotel extensions, new hotels being considered

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

The Dolmen Hotel in Qawra is going through a continuous refurbishment programme through which it invested €4.1 million between 2008 and 2011 and is investing another €3 million between this year and next year.

The hotel had already invested €5.5 million in a major refurbishment programme in 2004.

Hotel general manager Alex Pace told Tourism Minister Mario de Marco during a visit this afternoon that the hotel had refurbished

200 rooms and installed 49 solar water heating panels. The cost of the panels was €180,000 but the hotel benefitted from a government grant reducing the cost by 50 per cent.

It was now refurbishing the remaining 200 rooms and other areas. To further support the environment, the hotel will do away with tablecloths at its restaurants, saving on water and energy. The hotel door has been replaced by a revolving one allowing for better climate control.

The hotel had also replaced its old five chillers with two, more energy efficient ones.

Through the measures it had taken, it was using 20 per cent less fuel and 22 per cent less electricity.

Mr Pace noted that the hotel had benefited from €725,000 in tax rebates.

Dr de Marco said that, rather than subsidise hotel bills, the government had opted to help hotels invest in something that would help them save in the long term.

November, he said, was the eighth consecutive record month indicating a positive year ahead.

The minister said that the first record achieved was in 2007 when 1.2 million tourists visited spending a total of €1 billion.

Up to October this year 1.3 million tourists had visited spending €1.2 billion.

He noted that the Malta Tourism Authority currently had 100 applications related to tourism - 30 for hotel extensions, 70 for the development of new hotels.

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