In Malta, we are all about bringing people together, creating and fostering relationships through the excitement of travel and adventure. This goal is endorsed by the Malta Tourism Authority and seems to align with the goal outlined in a critical evaluation by Dr. Julian Zarb.
Dr. Julian Zarb was the director of Malta Tourism from 2010-2014 and has been known as an outspoken Lecturer at the ITTC (University of Malta) in International Tourism Development and CBT. He contributed this article to eTurboNews outlining some worries in this tourism paradise, Malta.
In my last article, I wrote about the need to show that we care for our environment and the importance of greening our urban and rural spaces on our beautiful island, Malta.
Today I must share with you another issue I have come across this week – making our neighborhoods more friendly, caring, hospitable, and courteous.
Presently, our neighborhoods are stripped of all these qualities – people seem locked away in their houses. I cannot call them homes because they probably lack that warmth and care of a home and family.
If you happen to see a neighbor outside, they rush past you, head lowered with a sullen face; try and wish them a good day, and the look tells you everything:
Push off before I do you in!
It is so important to have this sense of community spirit in our neighborhood because this will not only add value to our own quality of life but will be so welcoming to the visitor sharing in our lives for a time – that is what any quality visitor looks for.
Today’s tourists are really not interested in this quality of life; most of them are as uncouth, ill-mannered, and sullen as the locals or host community.
How can we even dream of quality tourism with this attitude?
You know we do not even care about our urban spaces.
Over the past ten years, I have seen my own locality – Iklin – go from a friendly neighborhood to one that is filled with envy, hatred, and uncouth behavior.
The reckless development of once traditional homes built just thirty years ago in local limestone is being replaced with ugly, abstract apartments without any character, let alone the qualities of a home!
With reference to my discourse the last weeks on community spirit and awareness that comparisons are odious, I must share this observation with you, and I look forward to some valid and pertinent comments.
Local history has shown that, at least since 1958, politics has driven a rift between our communities. We are aware of a divide and rule concept that creates situations of communal hatred, envy, and jealousy.
Why this is allowed on an island of just 500,000 people is beyond my comprehension, and indeed I think it is the product of evil and egocentric behavior on the part of politicians in government at the time this is evident.
It is evident, very evident, today, unfortunately.
People no longer address each other with a smile, a greeting, and a welcome word. Even the members of the public service and sector, including the police, are sour-faced and expound some form of displeasure, arrogance, and belligerence.
Obviously, this is not a general feeling, and I know there are still genuine people who are kind, courteous, and prudent, and who go out of their way to greet, help, and welcome you.