The Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association was formed in 1958. The promoters’ intention was to unite all those who own, manage or operate a hotel or restaurant, and to counsel and represent them. The industry, then just a fledgling, desperately required unity of purpose and strategy.
The newly formed Association sought incessantly to direct successive administrations towards recognising the benefits of a successful tourism industry. It also worked hard in the interests of its members, who required the umbrella protection of a strong and cohesive union to represent them.
The attainment of Independence in 1964 heralded a wave of confidence in the Island’s potential as a holiday destination. The MHRA was not slow to seize upon the opportunity to press for improvements in its industry. Hotels started sprouting throughout our Islands and the number of beds trebled. The increase in the number of restaurants was commensurate to the increase in tourists and the prosperity of the locals.
The seventies and early eighties witnessed increasing growth in the Maltese tourism industry, and Malta started diversifying into new markets. Further growth was achieved in the nineties with the introduction of a number of hotels in the five and four star categories, and a number of gourmet restaurants and food chains.
The Association encouraged its members to build good quality properties, and keep an ever-watchful eye on the standards of service. On the other hand, it sought with some success to persuade government to invest in infrastructural facilities, which would complement the members’ investments. Thus, airport facilities, roads, beach cleaning, proper sign posting, staff training through the Institute of Tourism Studies and many other components of the industry were built following the intervention of the Association.
As the major Association in the tourism sector, the MHRA represents the interests of its members on several important national policy making bodies, including the board of the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development. In addition, the Association maintains close contact with government departments and ministries, keeping them aware of the problems facing this industry from time to time. The Association’s endeavours and achievements assures it a place amongst the more important constituted bodies in Malta. Its contribution towards the improvement of the industry remains continuous and valuable. The vast majority of hotels and restaurants in the Maltese Islands, which are its members, confirm its place of importance amongst Malta’s employers’ unions.
Today, MHRA has also a good number of Associate Partners whose activities are closely linked to the Tourism Sector. Their support is invaluable in sustaining MHRA as a strong lobby group to ensure the growth of the tourism activity. Besides, they benefit from a number of incentives to improve their particular business. The Tourism Industry is today considered all over the world as the motor behind each country’s economy and therefore it operators is highly competitive market place. Malta needs to be proactive to continue to build a sustainable tourism industry and this can only be achieved through unity of all the players in the Industry working in harmony to reach the required growth through a common goal. MHRA aims to achieve this goal.