ITS will only migrate when Smart City campus is ready - MHRA chief

MHRA chief warns against 'complacency'

The Institute of Tourism Studies will not have to vacate its existing premises in St George's Bay by next summer as it will only relocate to Smart City when the new campus is finished, MHRA President Tony Zahra said this afternoon.

Addressing a press conference on the performance of the accommodation industry in 2016, he referred to a story in the Times of Malta yesterday which said that the ITS would have to vacate its existing premises by summer. 

This deadline stemmed from the contract signed between the government and db Group which said that the institute had to move out by June 30, the newspaper said. 

However, Mr Zahra this afternoon said that following "assurances" which he had received from "decision-makers" within the tourism ministry, the migration would only happen when the new campus would be ready to accommodate students. 

in his address, the MHRA chief warned against "complacency" saying the current boom in Malta was partly due to the unfavourable political situation in neighbouring countries which had negatively affected their tourism industry.

Mr Zahra also spoke about the need to reverse the current trend of an increasing number of foreigner workers within the accommodation industry. "Tourists do not come to Malta to meet Romanians but to get the Maltese experience," he remarked. 

Looking ahead, he warned that the island's infrastructure was in dire need of an upgrade, saying the existing roads and electricity network were never meant to handle this amount of people. This will cost billions which cannot be raised entirely from taxpayers' money but also through the private sector. 

Meanwhile, despite the record arrivals registered in 2016, private accommodation profited mostly from the increase in the number of guest nights. The latter registered an increase of 13.8 per cent in guest nights against 0.8 per cent in hotels.

However, in terms of gross operating profits it was a very positive year for collective accommodation. In the case of five-star hotels these rose by 5.5 per cent while in the four-star category the increase was of 15.5 per cent.   



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