Thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed on Friday 14 February 2020 between the University of Malta (UM) and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), the University's Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture (ITTC) will be able to carry out more research and data analysis pertaining to the tourism industry. The MoU was signed by UM Rector Prof. Alfred J. Vella and Mr Leslie Vella from the MTA.
The yearly €5,000 grant also provides the ITTC with the necessary resources to co-organise an annual conference with the aim of meeting other key stakeholders.
This was announced during a visit to UM by Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection, Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli, where she met with academics, staff members and students who form part of the ITTC. She was joined by UM Rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella and Pro-Rector for International Development & Quality Assurance, Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino. ITTC Director Dr Marie Avellino delivered a detailed presentation to the Minister, highlighting the achievements of the Institute since its foundation ten years ago. The ITTC currently offers seven different programmes of study across various levels.
Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli expressed her satisfaction towards the collaboration between the Malta Tourism Authority and the University of Malta that has been further strengthened through the signing of this MOU. Farrugia Portelli spoke about the need to embrace sustainable principles and practices in tourism as early as possible in the students’ journey towards joining the tourism industry. Farrugia Portelli also showed her gratitude towards the University’s commitments by equipping students with the necessary skills to increase Malta’s outreach as a tourism destination once they join the working world.
“Being one of the University’s richest resources and appeals for tourists to visit Malta, our human capital deserves all the recognition it gets. I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to discuss how the Ministry and the University can jointly increase Malta’s appeal and outreach as a touristic destination by giving our tourism students more international mobility, more study opportunities, more professional work experience and the right tools to practise sustainable tourism once they are part of the industry”, the UM Rector said.
UM Pro-Rector, Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino, likewise stated that “we are very keen on enhancing our relationship with the Ministry. It’s always rewarding to see our tourism students be successful in their individual careers, but it is far more fulfilling to see their endeavours translate into increased outreach for Malta as a sustainable tourism destination of choice. After all, the route to tourism sustainability passes through culture. This is what has uplifted Malta’s tourism industry beyond the ’sun, sea and sand’ model of other island tourism destinations”.
Upon thanking her hosts for the hospitality and reiterating her Ministry's commitment towards sustainable tourism, Minister Farrugia Portelli was also presented with a limited edition memento cover, stamps and coin that the University had launched to commemorate the 250th anniversary since its foundation as a public university.
More about Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli
Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli is the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection in Malta. For the
past 2 and a half years, Hon. Farrugia Portelli served as the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Reforms, Citizenship, and Simplification of Administrative Processes within the Office of the Prime Minister. She was responsible for major reforms including Human Trafficking, Constitutional Reform and Equal Representation in Parliament. Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee within the House of Representatives. In 2018, Hon. Farrugia Portelli was awarded the ‘Impactful Politics’ Awards from JCI Malta. She has successfully implemented the VOTE16 reform, where Malta is now one of two European Union Member states that have lowered their voting age to 16.
More about the Malta Tourism Authority
Formally set up by the Malta Travel and Tourism Service Act of 1999, the MTA goes beyond internationally marketing the islands as a tourism destination. It engages the direct participation by the private sector in the national planning and development of the industry. Its mission is to advance the economic and social activity of tourism in the national interest by working with all stakeholders to develop a sustainable industry. Its values of quality, authenticity, collaborations and leadership are enshrined in all of its endeavors to offer inspiration to those who operate in the tourism sector.
More about the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture
Set up in 2010, the University of Malta’s Institute for Tourism, Travel & Culture offers a range of tourism and culture courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, taught by academics in possession of doctorate degrees and work experience in the industry. A dedicated unit within ITTC works towards identifying funding opportunities and coordinating grants for students, with projects such as 3 ECONOMY+, BLUESPROUT, TOUR DC, EU HERITAGE, and FAMOUS being a few of the opportunities provided to tourism for networking with their peers. Students who complete courses with the Institute then go on to pursue careers in various disciplines, such as destination management, tourism marketing, travel, event management as well as culture and heritage.