Littering Solutions in Malta
Malta is a country consisting of three islands situated in Southern Europe. Due to its idyllic island features, such as Ghajn Tuffieha Bay Beach, and historical attractions, such as the Medieval Hilltop Town of Mdina, tourism takes up a significant portion of the Maltese economy, around 15%. According to NHSMUN, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, also known as UNWTO, stresses sustainable tourism, or “the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism.” This organization possesses three of the following goals: make respectful usage of environmental resources while helping conserve natural heritage and biodiversity, respect the social and cultural elements of communities, and provide fair and equal economic benefits for all involved with the operations. Due to Malta’s emphasis on tourism, it is a member of UNWTO. In fact, in 2017, Malta’s president, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, was nominated by UNWTO as Special Ambassador of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Currently, although Malta is concerned with the issues of tourism, climate change, and sustainable development, we have taken any measures to pursue sustainable these issues. We wish to take more measures in this direction in order to achieve a higher level of sustainable tourism in the future.
Sustainable tourism is an issue which has achieved global importance only recently. This is due to the rising trend of global-footprint awareness and eco-friendliness, along with an increase in tourism globally. Since 1990 in fact, the number of international tourist arrivals has spiked to a number of 1.4 billion international tourists in 2018. This number translates to more than 1.26 dollars in global revenue. It is therefore of paramount importance to address the topic of sustainable tourism, as tourism is growing, but sustainable measures must be taken so that the growth of tourism is beneficial rather than detrimental to countries and the world.
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Because Malta is such a small country, having a population of around 500,000 people and 122 square miles, we do not have a large primary industry, as our natural resources are scarce. Our income is therefore largely dependent on the tertiary industry, notably tourism. Due to this, until recent years, we have not widely been active on sustainable tourism and have not made any large actions as of the moment to pursue sustainable tourism. However, we have taken some small measures such as increasing the fine for littering in Malta. Now, repeat offenders of littering may be fined up to 15,000 euros. However, the government of Malta has set various goals of sustainable tourism such as “protecting natural, cultural, built, and undeveloped areas and sites.”
Malta wishes to transform their tourism sector into that of sustainable tourism. To do this, could embark on the following goals: support energy-efficient Maltese hotels, promote local Maltese culture (cuisine, custom, tradition), expand on the public transportation, and educate tourists and the Maltese people. Malta could support energy-efficient Maltese hotels by investing in them, allowing them to advertise more and make improvements on their quality. Malta could promote local Maltese culture by focusing on enriching its culture through educating tourists, promoting Matese restaurants and other measures… Finally, Malta could expand on our public transportation by investing in buses and discouraging private transportation such as cars. This is extremely important to improve the air quality of Malta, thus making the touristic experience more enjoyable and enticing. In order to do so, we may take measures such as placing taxes on gas of private transportation and invest in the public transportation industry. By educating both tourists and the Maltese people, littering would be reduced. Reducing littering is important for both Malta’s economic interest and the pursuit of sustainable tourism.
As of the moment, Malta has not embarked on anything considerable to pursue sustainable tourism. However, we have started mapping out: we are a part of UNWTO and have taken several small measures. We plan on making more impactful actions in the future regarding sustainable tourism not only because we are concerned with the Earth but because it is within our best interest: without such a nice climate, beautiful beaches, and well-preserved culture, tourism, a large contributor to Maltese economy, would disappear.