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Plans to build panoramic lifts at MCC get UNESCO approval

UN culture experts approve plans in their entirety

The Mediterranean Conference Centre.

The Mediterranean Conference Centre.

Updated 6.09pm

A €10 million project which will add two panoramic lifts and viewing platform to the Mediterranean Conference Centre has been given the green light by UNESCO.

The 'Reliving the Sacra Infermeria' project will also allow visitors to use augmented reality, holographic technology and GPS through their smartphones and tablets to go back in time and experience life at the MCC when it was used as a hospital by the Knights of St John.

READ: Viewing platform plans for MCC raise council's ire

Previously unused parts of the building will be opened up for use, and rooms will be built at roof level. The government is expected to tap a €5 million EU fund to part-finance the project.  

The project, which was approved by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and Heritage Advisory Committee, had come in for criticism from Valletta local council and heritage NGO Din L-Art Ħelwa last year, which said the proposals would irreversibly alter the building's layout. 

A Tourism Ministry statement quoted minister Edward Zammit Lewis as saying that the project had been scrutinised by both UNESCO experts as well as local organisations, and that there was consensus that interventions would have a net positive effect on the historic building.  

He noted that Malta was becoming increasingly popular as a conference and convention destination, and said that this project would bolster its attractiveness to this niche tourism market. 

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