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MALTATODAY 25 September 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 25 SEPTEMBER 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? The results of a Deloitte study which revealed that Malta will require no less than five mil- lion tourists to justify both its current and projected hotel situation in the coming years. Why are we skinning it? Due to the essential absurdity of a tiny island inviting an annual onslaught of unsustainable hoards of people… and then electing to build EVEN MORE accommodation because too much is, apparently, not enough. Tourism is Malta's economic lifeblood. Why do you hate having money so much? It's not that. Wasn't Malta 'full up', according to our prime minis- ter? Malta is full up to economic migrants who want to live and work here forever. Not tourists who stay for a while, leave some money behind and go home… Never to re- turn, because our beaches are overcrowded, our landscape is being eaten into by the same hotels that are established to accommodate them, and we are becoming one of the more expensive tourist destinations in Europe? But the tourism minister ap- pears to be very pro-active on what needs to be done. He mentioned the regeneration of the Bugibba and Qawra ar- eas… and was super gung-ho about combating one of the worst experiential scourges of the Maltese islands. Rampant construction chok- ing our rural and urban land- scapes? Nope. Lethargic or non-existent transport reforms doing noth- ing to address our over-reli- ance on cars? Neither. Erm… overly permissive at- titudes towards restaurants decking out streets with chairs and tables and playing atmos- phere-deadening loud mu- sic all throughout the night, thereby draining some of our most historic cities of all of their uniqueness and charac- ter? Don't be ridiculous. Well, what is it then? Cleanli- ness. What? Yes. Clayton Bartolo is dedicating all of his energies to ensuring that each and every town and village in Malta and Gozo is spic-and-span all year round, so that when we roll out the carpet for the FIVE MILLION TOURISTS we will do our ut- most to welcome, that carpet will never chafe against the pressure of discarded Twistees packets, the crunchy filo flakes of our trademark pastizzi, nor any scrunched cans of our be- loved Cisk. But what about construction waste? As far as we know, that will be given pride of place in an erstwhile mobile museum scattered all around the is- land, to be enjoyed by the few tourists who dare venture off the beaten track in an attempt to enjoy the little natural land- scape that's left. Do say: "While tourism de- serves to be nurtured as one of the main economic pillars of the Maltese islands, the COV- ID slowdown cannot be used as an excuse to simply jack up numbers unsustainably to the detriment of the island's urban and ecological infra- structure… to say nothing of the wellbeing of its citizens." Don't say: "I think we should all do the decent thing and clear out of the island for sum- mer to make way for our true patrons and benefactors – the tourists. Doing otherwise would be the height of ingrat- itude." Ukraine: Putin ups the ante with nuclear threat OPINION PAGE 4 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON Italy's first woman PM? PAGE 5 No 158 – Five Million Tourists, Please! JOSANNE CASSAR The social phenomenon of 'the Queue' PAGES 10 & 11 EDITORIAL Full up, fed up... of tourism? PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN Lip-service on climate is just a waste of time PAGE 12 Russia's plan to annex territory in the east of Ukraine via "referendums" follows an established playbook, but it also constitutes a new round of escalation in the war

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