ADPD – The Green Party said that for tourism to be sustainable, tourism operators must ensure they do not negatively impact the residential communities within which they operate.
At a press conference in Valletta on Saturday morning, party leader Carmel Cacopardo said competing destinations like Barcelona and Ibiza have strict noise level regulations that ensure entertainment establishments meet noise standards. soundproofing and guarantee the right to rest of local residents.
“It is absolutely not true that other tourist hotspots are free-for-all. The idea that a free-for-all should be allowed to serve the interests of a few at the expense of all others is an ingrained idea in the slavish spirit of the toothless, industry-controlled Malta Tourism Authority,” Cacopardo said.
He said the debate on the social and environmental impacts of tourism was crucial and questioned whether Malta should limit the number of tourists, depending on available resources.
“The conflicting interests involved in tourism must be resolved through the democratization of tourism development,” Cacopardo said.
He argued that tourism entrepreneurs should bear social responsibility and absorb cultural and environmental costs. “So far, tourism operators are pocketing the profits and we others are suffering the impacts.”
“The decision-making process of tourism development should be subject to greater public scrutiny by the community suffering from the impacts it generates,” Cacopardo concluded.
ADPD spokesman Marcus Lauri said the party had received various complaints from residents in various localities regarding entertainment establishments.
“They play music at very high volumes late into the night. This is happening in various localities, not just here in Valletta,” Lauri said. “The Minister of Tourism cares no less for residents and instead of looking for solutions, he has chosen to extend the hours of amplified music in Valletta.”
Lauri argued that Malta lacks adequate regulations and an enforcement culture. He said the police lack the legal tools to be able to effectively enforce the regulations. “What we have is the Malta Tourism Authority, which is an incompetent regulator.”
Lauri said Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo succumbed to pressure from operators and extended the permitted hours for loud music from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
He concluded by saying that it was untrue that no city in the world regulates loud music in residential areas and bans it after 11 p.m.
“On the contrary, specific regulations in cities include limits that set permitted sound levels and even require establishments to be properly soundproofed to play amplified music. That’s what the minister should be working on,” Lauri said.