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  • 1.
    Brico, Ivana
    et al.
    University of Kalmar, Baltic Business School.
    Pantzar, Heidi
    University of Kalmar, Baltic Business School.
    The Language of a Pearl: Language Tourism in Malta2009Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    We have studied the tourism industry for three years, and we were interested in finding a different subject to conclude our studies. Language Tourism, a fairly small but upcoming niche in tourism, and one in which we have some experience, promised to be an interesting dissertation subject. In Europe there are three countries where English is a mother tongue – the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta. The dissertation focuses on Malta.

    Malta is a small island state in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. The island state has three islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, and together they enjoy a huge number of tourists, particularly in the summer months when the warm climate makes a good sun and sea destination. The summer season is officially June to August, so there is a problem concerning what to do when the last tourist leaves the island after their summer holiday. The tourism industry has a huge impact on the country and sustains around 30 per cent of the country´s total GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Malta has been promoted for a long time as a sea-side destination, and the Maltese Government Tourist Board traditionally promoted the island for sun, sea and sand, and popular culture.

    Back in the 1980s Malta had an established reputation. The Maltese Government now wanted to attract a different type of tourist, the ‘quality tourist’. The type of tourist they wanted to attract would also visit the island during the shoulder months. They were talking about the cultural tourist.

    The importance of good cooperation between the language schools and the Malta Tourism Authority is a high priority if the development of steady all-year-round tourism is to be a possibility. Being an island state Malta is likely to suffer more from the issue of seasonality, as islands in general tend to be affected more than inland and coastal destinations. However, Malta's climate is a major pulling factor.

    Language tourism has grown on the island since the 1960´s; today there are between 40 and 50 schools registered on the island. There are three important factors contributing to a language trip: courses, teachers and the leisure programme. Even though Malta is facing competition from nearby destinations in the Mediterranean, it is on its own in this niche market and able to offer students a warm, friendly welcome with a combination of a unique experience and learning.

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