Birkirkara local council to take part in a travel project for senior citizens

During the launch in Malta of a project to develop better tourism for senior citizens in which the Birkirkara Local Council collaborated with the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Tourism and Trade based in Italy, the Minister for Tourism Dr Edward Zammit Lewis stated that this initiative was a unique opportunity for both local senior citizens as well as the local tourism industry alike. The EU funded project is aimed at incentivising individuals aged 60 to 70, already retired and receiving a pension, to travel in the low and medium seasons.

The programme includes training on how to use tourism and travel related portals and booking sites on the web and digital platforms to enable senior citizens plan and create their own holidays. Holiday providers are also being encouraged to cater for the needs of older travellers by placing relevant emphasis on cultural activities and venues (guided tours and theatres) and safety while promoting the use of current technology, including mobile apps.

Research is furthermore being conducted in five European countries namely – Malta, Italy, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria – with the aim of identifying best practices to be shared among participating countries. There will also be training sessions for destination managers and local guides.

The Minister was pleased that Malta was chosen as a partner as Malta can also be seen as a natural ‘laboratory’ in order to develop new tourism models. The geographical position of the Maltese Islands and our diverse population place us among the top destinations in the Mediterranean and therefore ready to welcome further sustainable tourism while also being more open to senior citizens.

The Minister said that Malta must keep abreast of developments if we want to remain competitive in a very dynamic tourism market. In this regard, later on this year, the Government shall launch a number of schemes aimed at increasing the trade’s online presence. In collaboration with a number of other Ministries, the Ministry for Tourism is planning a comprehensive tourism digital platform, giving visitors all the information they need at their fingertips in one location.

Dr Zammit Lewis highlighted the statistics issued by the Malta Tourism Authority for 2015 indicating that individuals above the age of 55 prefer to travel within the shoulder months (winter 27%, Spring 29% and Autumn 26%) with the majority (49% all year round) choosing Malta due to a favourable climate; (45%) for its history and culture (30%) as well as for value for money. Statistics show that 57% chose a package and 33% a non-package with the majority (59%) booking through a tour operator or travel agency. Only 21% booked exclusively from an internet-based travel operator, however 63% used the internet at some stage or another of their booking process.

 

The Minister for Tourism also invited Birkirkara locals to apply through the local council whereas eight participants will have this unique opportunity to get fully acquainted with the current digital tools for a better touristic experience. This EU-funded project that is managed in Italy is entitled “Please let enjoy a Seniors Experience.”

Furthermore the Mayor of Birkirkara Ms Joanne Debono Grech said that “as the biggest local council in Malta we are always happy to contribute and take part in cultural initiatives such as this one, which will give an opportunity to a number of our local elders to actively participate in the project LEAR promoting culture and tourism. The Birkirkara local council has already provided marketing facilities and granted the opportunity to the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Tourism and Trade to participate in our annual outdoor cultural event titled Birkirkara maż-Żminijiet to be held on Saturday 11th June”.

 

source–> http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2016-05-31/local-news/Birkirkara-local-council-to-take-part-in-a-travel-project-for-senior-citizens-6736158700

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