Malta is a country boasting high integration of urban and rural landscapes. Among the competing destinations, Nadur was the only locality in the area that successfully met the required qualities and standards of sustainability, holistic management and improvement, and was the first to implement and offer visitors a purely agro-tourism experience. The project succeeded in attracting a diverse range of tourists, from those interested in culture to those interested in rural activities. It is a typical example of an initiative that enshrines the principles of economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability.
Nadur is situated on the easternmost hill of the island of Gozo, Malta's sister-island. Fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, oranges, lemons and melons from the fields of Nadur are distributed around Malta and Gozo. Nadur also has a plenty of cultural heritage. In fact, several towers such as the Ta' Sopu Tower and Ta’ Kenuna Tower are located here. The feast of Nadur, the "Mnarja", celebrated on the 29 June, is considered as festival rooted in Maltese seasonal rituals and customs. Nadur also offers a number of areas of scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare.
The tourism development strategy adopted by the Nadur Local Council comprises activities and projects referring to:
- Quality of Life;
- Conservation and enhancing of environmental heritage;
- Recovery of hidden treasures and cultural spaces;
- Spurring tourism demand and;
- Arranging international activities aimed at increasing the know-how on European Policy and in promoting the island.
With a small population of just around 4,700 people and with a great percentage of its territory falling outside the permitted development zone, Nadur succeeded in using its rural area as one of its main assets and thereby creating the first, and possibly only, form of agro-tourism not only in Gozo but in the whole of the Maltese Islands.
The Destination of Excellence award is being presented to the following main thrusts of the strategy, adopted by the Nadur Local Council and managed over the past three-year period:
Nadur’s potential as an agro-tourism destination: The Nadur Local Council has been the catalyst for the development of agro-tourism in its locality. Intent on rehabilitating and putting its valleys to better use, the local council purchased 7,000 citrus and olive trees and made them available to farmers at a subsidised price. This initiative not only reinforced the rural environment, but also led to an increase in the cultivation of the valleys of Nadur.
Combining visitor’s experiences and local’s interests: Once local farmers were found to be positive towards the project, the Local Council entered into discussions with them encouraging farmers to open up their fields and allow tourists to experience fruit picking. Faced with a very conservative mentality, the Council initially worked with the most willing farmers, ensuring that the more conservative ones would be convinced once seeing the project in practice.
Cultural and natural heritage: The Nadur Local Council has managed to bring together its cultural and natural heritage assets as well as its agricultural resources through the design of six walks. The walks take visitors across the area, mixing the enjoyment and appreciation of nature with rural-related activities such as fruit picking. The Local Council has also organised specific events that have become traditions on Gozo’s events calendar. These include the Nadur Carnival, the Wine Festival and the Christmas Market amongst others. The Nadur carnival, being themed with satire, has today become synonymous with the locality and has grown into an event which is attended by many people. Another anchor event is the wine festival - 3 days of Maltese wine tasting - which Nadur has managed to secure for its locality. This type of festival complements the agro-tourism theme as well serving the niche market for traditional products. Intent on focusing on off-peak events, the Nadur Local Council is also organising a Christmas market, an attraction which is popular in a number of European cities.
Restoration works: The Local Council undertook the restoration of the Ta’ Sopu and Ta’ Kenuna Towers which are the two most prominent cultural heritage features in the locality thereby adding another dimension to their tourism product. These enable the locality to focus its product to cultural tourist who wants to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside and eventually leading to an increase in tourist activity which was previously absent within the locality.
Embellishment activities: In parallel, the Local Council undertook a number of embellishment activities in order to create supporting infrastructure for the areas of scenic beauty from where the natural and tangible heritage could be enjoyed.
Destination for meetings and conferences: The Local Council also promoted Nadur as a destination for meetings, conferences and incentives.
One-off events: Nadur also organises a number of one-off events which have so far included meetings between mayors; training on the subject of tapping EU funds; celebrations of the EU’s 50th foundation anniversary; an EU festival and a meeting on the Charter of the European Rural Committee.
There is quite substantial proof that the methods used have been successful as Nadur has managed to attract tourists from countries which have an interest in agro-tourism. Nadur has also managed to fully involve the local community and use local assets strategically without exploiting them irreversibly.
Project Nadur has proven to be a success as a number of key indicators easily point out. Nadur has begun to register an influx of tourists during off-peak periods and from destinations which are not necessarily the Maltese Islands’ main visitors. The agro-tourism concept has been realised, a cottage industry to process the produce of citrus and olives from farmers has been created and several meetings for overseas delegates have been held in the locality. Furthermore, the two towers that form an important part of Nadur’s cultural heritage have been restored, a number of commercial establishments have been set up, and finally there has been an increase in employment opportunities in the locality. All this aims to further enhance Nadur’s product by retaining the rural characteristics and making the rural aspect a keystone of Nadur’s assets.
Nadur (Malta) [88 KB]