MaltaToday | 27 August 2008

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NEWS | Wednesday, 27 August 2008

AD, Labour hit out at Sam Mifsud

Alternattiva Demokratika has expressed its disapproval at the declaration by the chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, Sam Mifsud, over court declarations made in the Mistra case on the role of the tourism authority.
The Green Party referred to Mifsud’s statements that ‘the authority believed that the north side of the island needed an area of entertainment to boost tourism’ and that the ‘authority’s policy is to spread places of entertainment to the north and to develop the coast’.
“In such a congested and overbuilt country as ours, the policy of developing the little coastline that is still left free is absolutely preposterous”, stated Arnold Cassola, the AD chairperson.
Carmel Cacopardo, AD spokesman on Sustainable Development and Local Government, said the MTA’s attitude to the proposal to develop Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s green area at Mistra indicated that MTA does not care about environmental policies. “Had it cared it would have noted immediately that the site forms part of a proposal for a Natura 2000 site and hence is protected in terms of the Habitats Directive as transposed into Maltese law. Environmental laws, regulations and policies are not only applicable at MEPA. They need to be applied by MTA too.”
Cacopardo said that if the MTA intends moving along the path of sustainable tourism in this manner, Malta would be better off without MTA and its leadership.
Labour shadow ministers for the environment and tourism, respectively Leo Brincat and Marie-Louise Coleiro-Preca, yesterday also hit out at MTA chairman Sam Mifsud.
They said his statements in court in the Mistra case went completely against the MTA’s efforts at improving the Maltese product for tourists, and went against any sustainable development policy.
They were referring to comments by Mifsud that the MTA does not consider the environmental element when considering tourism projects.
“This shows the Nationalist government has no serious and responsible policy, and that the structures it has set up are not coordinating between them. This goes against the norm of how a country’s tourism product is developed in countries where tourism is truly treated seriously.
“It is a pity that the efforts of the industry’s operators to develop a truly competitive product are going up in smoke with such a policy that is not just uncoordinated, but that does not recognise the important element of safeguarding environmental and heritage conservation in our country.”
Labour said it was calling on the government to ensure a more holistic national tourism policy that incorporated these elements.

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