Julian Zarb | Wednesday, 18 November 2009

In destructive mode

Julian Zarb

I was recently at a seminar and overheard two of the delegates discussing their experiences with foreign visitors and the local transport services. It never ceases to amaze me how we over react to everything around us but we never take the necessary action as we should as civic minded citizens! There they were going on about the state of some of the coaches in Gozo, how their visitors found it interesting but how they were over cautious about the experiences.
Believe it or not we will always find something to complain about, we will always see some kind of disservice and we will always notice, the real moment of truth here is when we translate those concerns into tangible action and make sure that this is taken care of – and I do not mean that we write lengthy letters to the papers spewing out all our problems to all and sundry, neither should we phone through to every radio station – we need to use the proper channels provided by Government. The secret here is that we need to learn the benefits of persistence. Criticism can be a very useful tool to positive strategies and policies concerning the tourism industry, but if it is simply the type of criticism that is purely ego centric or destructive the result is, most definitely, a lose-lose situation. This concept of criticism can be seen clearly in our parliament. Every year, as in every other country, we have the famous budget speech, a week later when everyone has calmed down from this high point of the year, we are bombarded with a scathing attack by the opposition leader (whoever this may be and whatever his or her politics) and, at least in the last few years, this has always followed the same pattern, criticism...criticism and more criticism...this is followed by the more lengthy budget debates on each vote; it is this part I will never really understand, though. We criticise something that we have not yet had the chance to discuss and analyze properly in open debate! Would it not make more sense if we gathered our facts together and then analyzed the results before we spout out our criticism. Perhaps i am too much of a “fact” person, this may have been the number of years I have been researching as a tourism journalist and media, but I hate criticizing things I know little about – those who do, I am afraid to say, undoubtedly end up with egg on their very red faces!
Our criticism needs to be more focussed, it needs to include studied facts. I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of using the daily papers (and the Sunday papers, for that matter) as a platform to air our ideas, in fact, I would agree more if these letters also included valid and constructive suggestions for improvement. I am certain that there are plenty of people out there who want to offer their ideas but they feel that more often than not these are considered insignificant. I am offering, that as a tourism journalist I will assist anyone who really feels strongly about some issue concerning tourism, especially issues of sustainability – I cannot say that I would agree to every idea or comment but I will offer a listening ear to these people and help them if they need to know how best to achieve success in righting any wrongs – it will not be easy, be prepared for a strong dose of persistence but, believe they will benefit from the results because it could show in the very quality of life we lead today.
So now you have another opportunity to improve the attractiveness of these islands – but, be warned, i will only tolerate constructive criticism and ideas, they are the ones that really matter!


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18 November 2009


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