Far from the mainstream leisure tourism, there is a rich rural culture to discover, while mingling with locals. "Meet the locals" is a research project on community-based tourism that was born at the University of Malta with the collaboration of ITTC, MTS and E-travel Solutions. It is not just encouraging visitors to Malta, it is about giving new possibilities to this island to be an innovative reality. The project's promoters would like to make Malta a reference model by showing people that there are many ways of discovering the islands.
The core concept is more focused on community-based tour rather than the generic sightseeing tour. Community-based tourism is about people and intercultural experiences, ranging from sampling food specialties to learning about the traditions of the locality. It is also a unique opportunity to discover a lesser-known culture, which no guidebook tells you about. The tourist can experience the peaceful and timeless atmosphere of village life in Mqabba, Kirkop, and Safi while walking along the narrow, winding streets and open piazzas, learn how the local specialities like ricotta, cheeselets and honey are made, and sample them during the visit while also discussing the gastronomic history of these specialities with the locals; visit the quarry, the catacombs, and learn about the important role of the local band club.
The organizers would like to thank Mr Joe Abdilla of E-Travel Solutions, who was a key stakeholder in this project's’ dissemination; acknowledge the research work carried out at the ITTC by the many intern students from the University of Florence, Decroly in Spain and the University of Derby and also thank the committee and members of the Malta Tourism Society, for their commitment and assistance.
The villages tours are now taking shape, so the University of Malta becomes the place where the tours are developing and where this research will be analysed and presented to stakeholders. The team will also study the effects of the community-based tourism on the villages and the locals.
The organizers and researchers are offering university students, staff and academics the opportunity of experiencing these tours while also participating in the ongoing monitoring stage of the project. E-travel Solutions has kindly agreed to offer University of Malta academics, staff and lecturers a 20% discount on the published rates.
The brochure and booking details including rates of these tours can be downloaded at: