What is ecotourism? It is a sustainable form of tourism that focuses on preserving and protecting nature. The aim of it, is to minimize the negative effects of tourism on the environment, as well as on local people.
Malta is taking the following measures to protect the environment on the island and to push ecotourism:
- Ecotourism involves the use of eco-friendly accommodation. Such accommodations are hotels and resorts that use renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy. They are also committed to nature conservation.
- Eco-friendly transport is used on the islands. This includes electric vehicles and buses, which reduce CO2 emissions. Residents who purchase electric vehicles also receive a government subsidy. Public transport in Malta is free for the population.
- Environmental awareness. People on the islands are made aware of environmental conservation and ecotourism is promoted through campaigns and educational programmes.
- Malta protects its natural areas through strict enforcement of environmental regulations. This also applies to marine life around Malta.
- Local businesses are supported by the Maltese government if they adopt eco-friendly policies.
- Hiking, cultural heritage and eco-friendly activities are supported by the government to attract tourism that focuses on environmental protection.
Nature reserves in Malta
There are several nature reserves in Malta. These are clearly indicated and, as previously mentioned, can be visited.
- Ghadira Nature Reserve: a beautiful wetland reserve is the Ghadira Reserve. It is a breeding ground for many bird species in Malta.
- Salina National Park: a park next to the tourist area of Bugibba with salt pans and a breeding ground for native bird species. Numerous plant species can be found in this reserve.
- Ramla Bay Nature Reserve: the beach and dunes at Ramla Bay on Gozo, Malta’s sister island, is the breeding ground of the spotted Loggerhead turtle.
- Wied il-Ghasri Nature Reserve: this valley is picturesque and has a small river. It is a popular spot for hikers. The vegetation is very green and there are historical ruins such as the Ta’Kola windmill and the Xaghra stone circle.
The government of Malta has taken measures to separate and dispose of waste in a more sustainable way. The population is clearly informed about this, and the country hopes to recycle 50% of its waste by 2050.
To protect the environment, the population needs to be informed about environmental issues. Therefore, the tourism sector in Malta has developed activities that teach hotels about new energy sources and water-saving measures. For example, in hotels you will often find a request from the hotel for the guest to think sustainably, such as using towels longer or not changing bedding daily.
Cultural heritage and ecotourism
It is important for Malta to balance the preservation of cultural heritage with the promotion of ecotourism. Tourists are encouraged to visit cultural sites and learn about the island’s rich history and traditions.
An example of protecting the environment
Turtle eggs in Malta are laid on the beaches. After these eggs hatch, the young turtles head to the sea as it is a safe environment for them. They must not be disturbed. The loggerhead turtle in Malta is protected, and tourists are not allowed on the fenced-off portion of the beach, but can still observe from a distance.
Ultimately, ecotourism is an integral part of tourism in Malta, and the country is taking measures to manage environmental protection and sustainable tourism. Malta shows great commitment to achieving goals and respecting the environment. Therefore, Malta is a great destination to explore landscapes, enjoy the Mediterranean, soak up cultural history, or relax and enjoy delicious food in your comfortable hotel. Everyone contributes to sustainable development and if you do your bit too, you will have a great time on this beautiful archipelago!