Cruise Passenger Traffic Flourishing while Lower Fort St. Elmo still Rotting

In Malta we have many contrasting issues.  A good example of such contrast is that while we are experiencing a constant growth in cruise passengers, one of the most important monuments of the Grand Harbour is still abandoned.

During the fourth quarter of 2014 there was an increase of 27% in cruise passengers compared to the same period in 2013.  This year Malta once again experienced an overwhelming increase in cruise passengers; a substantial growth of some 66.4% during the second quarter when compared to 2014.  This shows that the cruise industry in Malta is constantly growing.

Some advantages of this increase are mainly linked to the economy.  The economy will directly benefit from such an increase, mainly due to more jobs, increased revenue generated from taxes and revenue generated from tourist expenditures.

However, one of the most iconic fortifications of the Grand Harbour is still abandoned.  Although the upper part of Fort St. Elmo has been refurbished, the lower part of this fort is still in a disastrous state.

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One might ask ‘Why is this important?’

First and foremost Fort St. Elmo was the main showcase during one of the most crucial events in Maltese history.  Fort St. Elmo was of utmost importance during the Great Siege and its cultural value is priceless.  It is what makes many Maltese so proud, yet this pride is fading away as the lower part of the fort is falling to bits.

Secondly, the first thing cruise passengers will see when they enter the Grand Harbour is the fort.  First impressions of a place are very important since they determine, more or less, how beautiful a place is or not.  This will in turn lead to decisions of whether the place is worth visiting or not.

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Therefore, if we want to convince more passengers to visit Malta, we must present our heritage in all its beauty.  We from ADŻ Malta Green Youth strongly encourage any restoration works at the lower parts of Fort St. Elmo.  Restoring our cultural heritage is important not only for our economy and well being but also for us to save and appreciate our unique cultural heritage.

Pascal Aloisio

ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer

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Developing Malta

A lot has been discussed about construction and development especially in light of proposals of the Żonqor ‘university’ and the towers that will dominate the Sliema skyline.  Undoubtedly, Malta has been experiencing economic growth since the 90’s with various projects ranging from MCAST to the Luqa Airport, to new bypasses and roads, a Freeport etc.  Despite all these projects, Malta has managed to keep a tight lid on development – though at times this lid tends to open slightly and ugly development of green land is destroyed.  Even the urban environment, though preserved wonderfully over the years has been threatened over and over again by post modern buildings in the middle of a village core inhabited with medieval buildings.

We have removed such architectural gems to be replaced by monstrosities and destroyed green land without paying attention to the consequences.  We, at ADŻ, support development as long as it is sustainable, meets economic targets and respects the environment as well as our health.  Building, building and more building is not the way to go since land is a limited resource and can quickly disappear.  Unique medieval village cores can be replaced by small scaled New Yorks if we do not plan our countrys’ development with carefulness.

We propose that new developments respect:

  • The green and urban environment including buildings of historical and cultural heritage
  • Traffic impact
  • Social impact on residents
  • New buildings are ecofriendly; in fact the new MCAST campus has invested into ecofriendly measures which deserve an applause
  • Exploring the possibility of new natural parks and green zones to stop villages encroaching on each other
  • Harsher penalties on illegal development and littering
  • Respecting ODZ boundaries

Not too hard see?  We hope that the government preserves Malta for what it is – a gem in the Mediterranean with all its history, unique green and urban environment as well as balancing its economic growth to benefit all citizens while protecting our land, heritage and future.

Nizar Hingary
ADŻ Malta Green Youth PRO