“Tourism continues to play a principal role in the development of the Mediterranean region, providing employment opportunities and therefore sustaining the livelihoods of millions of people from across the region,” President of Malta George Vella stated during the Mediterranean Tourism Gala Awards 2023, organised by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation.
In his speech, President Vella remarked that the potential for tourism to be a force that can push human development as well as social and economic progress in the Mediterranean remains substantial. He stated that whether tourism in the Mediterranean translates into opportunity or disaster depends entirely on how we manage it. That is why efforts must be all concentrated on ensuring that as it continues to grow, tourism in our region develops in line with the Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of all the people in the host countries, said the President.
Against this backdrop, President Vella commended the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation for its continued drive and determination to pursue a vision of sustainable and resilient tourism in the Mediterranean through cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange. He said that tourism in the Mediterranean remains to this day a powerful driver that has the ability to help us overcome the various challenges that we are facing in the region. “I continue to firmly believe in the need to change the narrative on the Mediterranean,” said the President, whilst appealing to focus more on the vibrant people-to-people exchanges.
President Vella welcomed the theme of this year’s Mediterranean Tourism Forum which focuses on ‘Mediterranean Life’. “Tourism activity revolves around the genuine experience and enjoyment of the natural environment of any destination, including natural landmarks such as the sea, sun, forests, mountains, deserts and all the various traditions, food, folklore, and culture in general. All these elements tell a story of our lives,” stated the President.
The Mediterranean, the President said, is one of the busiest seas in the world and continues to be an important arena that has a very strong bearing on international affairs as is in turn influenced by what is happening all around us.
President Vella congratulated all the winners of this year’s Mediterranean Tourism Gala Awards for their contribution in promoting sustainable and resilient tourism in the Mediterranean.