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Events programme for first European Maritime Day to be held in Malta

No fewer than 50 activities are being organised to coincide with European Maritime Day, which takes place on May 20 every year, and is being held for the first time in Malta.

Parades, exhibitions, music and dancing will bring the event to life. A packed calendar was recently announced at Villa Bighi in Kalkara.

Following an introduction by Martin Bugelli, head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, in which he traced the history of European Maritime Day back to 2008, there were contributions from Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Edward Zammit Lewis, Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella and Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Chris Cardona.

Mr Bugelli said: “European Maritime Day aims to enable our citizens to realise the extent and great variety of maritime-related activities that take place across Europe. Most EU countries have a maritime border or have maritime-related activity along their waterways and this, in a nutshell, is what ‘Maritime Europe’ pays tribute to.”

Mr Vella said Malta was hosting the 2013 European Maritime Day Conference, with the theme Sustainable Coastal and Maritime Tourism in the wider context of blue growth.

“This year’s conference throws the spotlight on a vital sector of the Maltese economy, enabling delegates from across the EU to debate the challenges we are all facing,” he said. “I am confident that specific issues that affect all of us, including the sustainable development of our coastal regions, cruise tourism and ensuring accessibility through the right connections across the EU, will be among the topics discussed.”

Dr Cardona dwelt on blue growth, job creation, investment and the economy throughout the EU. Commenting on this aspect of European Maritime Day, he said this showed great scope for implementation.

“A lot is being done, which we must appreciate, but there is still a lot more that can be done across the EU to ensure the maritime ‘industry’ grows and creates jobs. By providing the necessary investment, the economy is regenerated.”

Dr Zammit Lewis thanked the hardworking organising committee for having put together such an impressive public events programme, spread over two days, next Saturday and Sunday.

“It is important to remind the Maltese of this great asset we have, which is the beautiful Mediterranean sea surrounding us and the important maritime tradition we have inherited,” Dr Zammit Lewis said.

Although activities will be taking place both in Malta and Gozo, the focus will be in and around Valletta, where people can cross the harbour or use the Upper Barrakka lift for free.

There will be band marches, parades, interactive artists, concerts and folk music and dancing.

Several locations will be open to the public for jfree, including the Malta Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa with a special exhibit, the Delimara Lighthouse, Fort San Lucjan, the Freeport and the special research vessel berthed at Pinto Wharf.

The programme of events focuses on heritage, culture, the arts, sport, leisure, education, industry, tourism and transport.

For more information, visit www.emd2013.gov.mt, e-mail [email protected] or call 2220 9999.

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