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Published on : Saturday, July 16, 2016
Dr. Gavin Gulia, Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, attended the fourth Conference of the 5+5 Dialogue of Tourism Ministers held in Casablanca, Morocco on July 11th 2016, on behalf of the Minister for Tourism, Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis. He was accompanied by Mr George Micallef, Advisor to the Minister for Tourism. During this event, Dr Gulia signed the declaration on Tourism and Climate Change on behalf of Malta.
The 5+5 Dialogue is an informal forum for dialogue and cooperation between 10 countries in the Western Mediterranean basin: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia on the southern shore and Spain, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal on the northern shore. 5+5 is currently co-chaired by France and Morocco,
The Casablanca conference was organised under the theme “Tourism and Climate Change,” and offered an opportunity for exchanges between Western Mediterranean countries on the links between tourism and factors that have a direct bearing on climate and the environment, as well as discussing ways in which countries in the region can deal with the complexities of climate change in a collaborative framework.
“The correlation between tourism and climate change works in both directions,” commented Dr Gulia. “According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), climate change is already affecting the tourism sector in various parts of the world. On the other hand, tourism also contributes to certain causes of climate change, such as emissions from transport, accommodation and other tourism-related operations”.
Aware of these challenges and of the importance of tourism as a main driver of economic activity, the countries of the 5+5 Dialogue of Tourism Ministers adopted and signed a “Declaration of Casablanca,” which aims to undertake measures to assess and monitor the impact of tourism on climate change in the region and to mitigate as much as possible the impacts of climate change on touristic development.
Addressing the conference, Dr Gulia mentioned how the Maltese Government and the private sector, in collaboration with stakeholder organizations such as the Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association (MHRA), have over recent years taken a number of initiatives aimed at helping Malta deal with the effects brought about by climate change, as well as various preventive measures. The recent constitution of a National Climate Action Board, and the setting up of a Climate Action Fund supporting research and promoting education, training and public awareness, are just two of these positive initiatives. The Malta Tourism Authority’s own Eco-Label scheme has already borne positive results, whereas a new scheme aimed at incentivising energy efficient investment by hotels and restaurants is in the pipeline.
“We were pleased to note that Malta is already proactive in this regard. However, more can and should be done,” concluded Dr Gulia. “For instance, the Malta Tourism Authority will be working with the other relevant authorities to prepare the tourism industry stakeholders to embrace green building guidelines and sustainable building practices. The ultimate aim is to achieve low-to-zero carbon buildings in the near future”.
Source:- Malta Tourism