OBIMED – Out of the Blue in the Mediterranean
OBIMED aims at increasing cross border collaboration between Malta, Gozo and Sicily leading to a sustainable increase in economic activity for tourism operators present in the respective territories. This objective will be achieved by improving the accessibility to several tourist attractions present within the territories and by the development of a common product offer aimed at countering the seasonal element negatively affecting operators in the tourism sector.
Co-ordination between territorial stakeholders and innovative technological tools such as Iphone, Ipad and Android applications, WIFI Areas, Information Kiosks equipped with booking systems as well as marketing media such as websites and promotional videos will lead to targeted marketing campaigns and the dissemination of information about the product offer available in the different territories and thus increase tourism inflows during the low season.
The project will develop a unique product offer aimed at specific targets with the resultant effect of enhancing the visibility of the regions concerned and increase regional economic activity in the tourism sector during shoulder months. A particular target of the promotional activities that will be implemented will be international social clubs such as Lyons, Rotary and Inner Wheels and thereby promoting the OBIMED offer within particular niches. The members of these prestigious organisations will be invited and enticed to trace the paths of the Knights of Malta, and immerse themselves in the atmosphere and era of when the Knights ruled the Maltese Islands and trace back through historical routes appositely created by the OBIMED project the knights’ customs, rituals and traditions. It is believed that to this day this theme, if appropriately packaged can attract a number of enthusiasts and that such an offer can be successfully promoted within international social clubs.
The combination of itineraries that will be developed will be based on specific thematic themes covering Sciacca, Castelvetrano, Malta and Gozo and will vividly communicate the cultural richness and beauty of these territories, providing travellers an alternative holiday destination, specifically packaged to suit the needs of today’s ever demanding and sophisticated tourist.
The touristic packages created by the project will be promoted via networking initiatives within social clubs present in countries which are connected by direct flights to the airports of Malta, Trapani and Palermo and all the project initiatives will be packaged into a Travel Box providing a comprehensive illustration of the different tourist operators present within each territory and the ancillary tourist services, facilities and attractions present en route each itinerary created by the project, thus providing the means for those interested to take part in this project in an active way. The travel boxes will also be promoted in at least two major international tourism events. The stakeholders will also seek the involvement of regional Tourism Authorities such as the Malta Tourism Authority to promote the OBIMED offer.
Youths will also benefit from this project. The proposition is to enable Maltese and Sicilian youths to experience foreign cultures close to home and at the same time enable Maltese youths to practice the Italian language and Sicilian youths to practice the English language. The aim is also to make holidays for this particular tourist segment more affordable by integrating at the same time travelling with leisure, education and work experience abroad. The latter objective will be achieved by the development of a Job Experience Portal facilitating networking between tourism operators willing to offer traineeships and youths seeking to venture in foreign countries. The job experience portal will be widely promoted via networking at different educational institutions, the project website www.obimed.eu and social media. Particular beneficiaries of this initiative will be Hotel and Tourism Institutes present within each territory and therefore in order to achieve the desired result a number of presentations have been scheduled in several institutes in order to secure the participation of the relevant stakeholders in this initiative.
All project partners believe that in order to ensure that the project is successfully implemented the participation of the different stakeholders, especially tourism operators is vital.
- Access to a service booking system based on specific territorial needs.
- Free use of WIFI that will be accessible in prominent areas of Sicily, Malta and Gozo, which has been engineered to divert leads to tourist operators subscribed to the OBIMED network.
- An identifiable profile based on an in depth territorial analysis which clearly explains to the traveller the territories within Malta, Gozo and Sicily and the availability of mobile tools such as Iphone and Android applications which lead to a wider market reach.
- Benefits from promotional activities including:
- Marketing at an international level targeting stakeholders such as Social Clubs.
- The publication of printed media related to the project.
- Participation in international tourism related trade shows.
- Online promotion through the project’s website www.obimed.eu.
- The use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to ensure a wider market reach, especially the younger generation.
- Promotion of the project within Maltese and Sicilian Tourism Institutes.
- The possibility of offering traineeships to students who are keen to learn another language and experience foreign cultures.
- The support of an administrative structure for the promotion of all project activities which will ensure that all information and relative services available to tourists visiting the territory are disseminatedTherefore facilitating and enriching the product offer of each operator subscribed to the network.
- A common calendar promoting events of interest taking place in each territory.
Participation in the OBIMED project is completely free however operators taking part will be requested to subscribe to a code of conduct. This is to ensure that a common quality standard is maintained throughout the network and that customers benefit from exceptional service when making use of the OBIMED platform. This common standard will be identifiable through the OBIMED Quality Mark which when used by subscribed operators will immediately convey an image of trust and value. This project also promotes initiatives which aim at safeguarding the environment and promotes employability of youths within the touristic sector; therefore particular attention will be given to operators that have safeguards within their operations respecting the environment and operators that are willing to offer Maltese and Sicilian youths traineeship possibilities within their establishments.
In order to fulfil all project objectives it is necessary to embark in a collective effort and secure the collaboration of all concerned actors present in each territory. In fact the project aims at developing constructive operative synergies between Italian, Maltese and Gozitan touristic operators, territorial socio-economic actors and the local Italian and Maltese Entities responsible for promoting and administering the touristic heritage of the interested areas: Western Sicily and the Islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.
The global objective towards which this project contributes, is to collaboratively tap the potential of tourism as an economic driver through initiatives which enhance and distinguish the regions’ touristic product offer by improving the services offered via integrated tools for promoting innovation and expansion of integrated thematic tours Sicily – Malta.
The project aims at improving the competitiveness of the interested regions, which more than ever are being negatively affected by global competition, both from traditional and emergent destinations. Seasonality issues will also be addressed through this project, where a common factor affecting Malta, Gozo and Sicily is the fact that 60% of tourist arrivals in Western Sicily and 50% of the tourist arrivals in Malta are concentrated during the summer months. This results in an imbalance of occupational levels, the underutilisation of the regions’ tourism infrastructure and environmental degradation. Through innovative marketing channels, niche targets and eco-sustainability the project will aim at perusing a model of seasonally adjusted tourism and spread on alternative routes.