Hospitality sector seeks to raise standards with new quality assurance program


Malta’s hospitality sector has launched a new quality assurance standard that aims to inspire industry players at all levels to up their game.

The STAR Journey initiative, launched on Wednesday, will allow participating establishments to obtain certification in four areas: security, tutoring, accommodation and catering.

The program was developed by the Meditteranea Tourism Foundation in collaboration with the Forbes Travel Guide, which will award the certification.

Malta Hotel and Restaurant Association chairman Tony Zahra said while the industry had “fallen off a cliff” during the pandemic, the opportunity to improve staff training had paid off in the long run. term.

“With over 3,000 trained hospitality staff, we’ve taught them a little more than serving with a smile,” Zahra said.

“But we’re happy to see that the launch of this program will help the industry raise its standards even further, because quality doesn’t mean luxury, quality means being the best in your industry, whatever it is.”

“It’s always better to do better, not cheaper and the STAR Journey will see us all striving to be better.”

Forbes Travel Guide Ambassador Filip Boyen praised the industry for embracing the program and stressed that cooperation is key to maintaining high standards of hospitality.

“Quality happens at all levels of hospitality, from a family hotel to a five-star resort, because it is the most important factor in building a destination and quality comes from creating an emotional connection, an experience the customer will never forget,” he said.

Forbes Travel Guide Ambassador Filip Boyen (left) and MHRA Chairman Tony Zahra at the launch of the Star Journey initiative. Photo: Matthieu Mirabelli

“The fact that the Star Journey is the result of close collaboration between the public and private sectors is a very important factor in its success.”

“Success in a destination requires everyone’s close cooperation and if we can make it happen, if everyone is on the same page, then everyone can be successful.”

Minister pushes for consistency

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said adopting the scheme is a natural next step to continue supporting the hospitality industry in its recovery phase.

“Never have we made such a drastic decision as to join the Star Journey,” he said.

“How do you ensure quality? By consistency in everything we do. Both in life and in industry, we must strive for consistency at all levels.

“Following the disruption of the pandemic, I am delighted to see your positivity here today and know that you have used this time wisely to invest in your people and your product.”

In comments to Malta weatherBartolo said that if circumstances remain unchanged, Malta is still on track to attract some 1.8 million tourists to the island by the end of this year.

“When projecting this figure, we took into account both the summer months and those that followed it and if everything remains as it is today, then 1.8 million tourists will have visited our country,” he said.

“This means that after going down to the numbers of the 1980s in terms of the number of tourists visiting our island, in less than two years we would be back to the numbers we were seeing in 2015.”

Bartolo added that the government was also working hard to implement the sustainable tourism strategy strategy it set out at the end of last year and was focusing on helping the hospitality industry make that leap. quality.

“With the launch of this program today, Malta is the first country to take such an initiative, demonstrating our commitment to take this step, hand in hand with the private sector.”

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