The Report Company: What are the current activities of the ITS and what has been its story so far?
Pierre Fenech: The Institute of Tourism Studies was set up nearly 30 years ago, because with the development of tourism as a major pillar of our economy, there was a need to educate and train our young people to be able to manage the tourism industry in the future. That future is today, and it succeeded in its aim; indeed, I was one of the Institute's first students. Many of the top people in the industry today are alumni of the Institute, not only in Malta, but all over the world.
Around two or three years ago, we thought that it was time for the next step and to start thinking about the next 25 years. The tourism industry in Malta is thriving. We are seeing growth like never before, and because the industry is very dynamic, we have to change the way we are operating. We need to up the standards, not only by building new properties, but we need to actually man these properties as well because the human element in the tourism industry and hospitality is very important. Without the human element, you don't have hospitality.
As a result, in the 2015 Budget, the government announced one of the biggest human resources investments in tourism and hospitality, with €74 million going into the ITS.