Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tourism in the Green Economy


The UNWTO – UNEP’s 2012 report entitled, ‘Tourism in the Green Economy’ demonstrates how increased investment in sustainable tourism has the potential to boost the sector’s contribution to economic growth, development and job creation, while simultaneously addressing the major environmental challenges of the times. The report also highlights that, while tourism is one of the most promising drivers of growth for the world economy, its development is accompanied by sustainability-related challenges. It recommends an increased investment of global GDP per year from 2012 to 2050 in order to allow the tourism sector to continue to grow steadily and ensure significant environmental benefits such as reductions in water consumption, energy use and CO2 emissions. Findings call for a better access to tools and financing for SMEs in particular from governments and international organizations through public-private partnerships and also for public policies and support to encourage private investment in green tourism.

The report is an extension of the Tourism Chapter of the Green Economy Report, which makes the case for investments in greener and sustainable tourism as a means to create jobs and reduce poverty while improving environmental outcomes.


Source: World Tourism Organisation (2012) Tourism in the Green Economy: Background Report Url: accessed on the 29th June 2013.


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Employment Laws and Industry Codes of Practice in Malta


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June 25, 2013 · 10:01 am

Marketing Effectiveness Audits


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Generally, firms dedicate considerable resources on their marketing activities. Businesses’ marketing expenditure is usually devoted to campaigns, propositions, channels and customers. Such discretionary costs could optimise the interaction with customers and improve profitability which maximises the return on marketing investment.  However, the market environment and the chance factors can possibly influence results. Therefore a marketing effectiveness audit can be carried out in order to analyse and interpret all effects of the firms’ marketing functions. Such an audit will feature a roadmap for further improvements.


Management and staff have to recognise the primacy of knowing their customers. Are they capable of identifying between different promising segments?  Some managers tend to over concentrate on certain factors and ignore their customers’ philosophy. Certain managers are sales oriented as they strive to sell anything. Others may be driven by cost efficiencies as they place undue emphasis on price as a determinant of demand. Technology-oriented managers leverage their firms’ profile through digital marketing and social media.  However in business; it’s all about people interacting with people. All marketing functions should revolve around the customer needs. Ideally, each employee must meet and exceed the customers’ expectations. Integrated organisations are effective in their total quality management, as they are characterised by effective channels of communication.  Free flowing information must be in place, particularly between different operating divisions. Information communicated by one division may be critical to the operation of another, and may affect the action which will be taken by that division. Two way communication systems must exist all the way up from the lowest to the senior ranks. This sort of flexibility will allow organisations to deliver an excellent customer service. As a result, customers will perceive businesses as caring organisations rather than soulless bureaucracies. Arguably, employees may affect customers’ perceptions of their products or services. Customer satisfaction is everybody’s responsibility. The most successful businesses in the future will be those who offer a total quality, customer service product.


Enterprises need to have up-to-date information on their targeted markets. They need to know what customers need and want, all the time. The first step of anticipating customer needs is to watch what is happening. Businesses require timely and specific data relating to their provision of customer service. Marketing plans should be reviewed regularly to reflect the latest consumer attitudes and trends. The plans may need to be revisited to deal with problems and contingencies, should they occur. Relevant resources should be allocated in certain operational areas to carry out marketing activities, successfully. Adequate human resources must be carefully recruited, assigned, trained and nurtured. Employees can be effective only if they are deployed in the right areas. Different marketing strategies necessitate managers with relevant interpersonal skills. Businesses must recognise that various marketing activities must be allocated appropriate finances if they are to achieve the desired results. Checking marketing performance against ‘smart’ targets may involve qualitative assessments and checklists for continuous improvements. Key performance indicators examine customer complaints, customer satisfaction surveys and the like.

This contribution raises awareness about the purpose of marketing effectiveness audits as systematic examinations of the businesses’ marketing activities.  It is important for any organisations to carry out periodic reviews of their modus operandi as objectives and strategies are quickly outdated in today’s turbulent environment. Marketing audits help businesses to sample the effectiveness of their marketing activities; as they indicate the strengths and weaknesses of extant marketing strategies. Such audits will inevitably help to maximise returns on marketing investments by focusing on commercially successful activities and aligning appropriate resources to them. They lead to cost reductions by reallocating marketing investment away from ineffective activity. Audits provide a snapshot of how effective processes and systems are. In addition, the marketing effectiveness audit provides a course of action for further improvement. It creates a prioritised roadmap of activities to improve efficiency and effectiveness of marketing plans.

This contribution was published in the Times of Malta ‘s Business Supplement

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Economic Growth Correlates with Investment in Education


Now more than ever, today’s employees need to possess adequate skills and knowledge to enable them to perform a wider range of tasks and functions within their organisational contexts. The labour market has to become flexible and adaptable to the continuously changing market environment. Moreover, the educational institutions’ investments in curriculum development will help to provide incentives for individuals to commit resources to their careers. Many academic studies have shown that economic growth is increasingly correlated to the effectiveness of the countries’ educational policies and their related curriculum development programmes (OECD, 2012). Educators should ensure that their policies, systems and reforms contribute to the supply of well-skilled people for the labour market. Prospective students of continuous professional development programmes and of higher education courses may be new entrants (school leavers), people continuing to expand their existing knowledge and skills in their workplace or job seekers registering for employment. On the other hand, lower social capital investments can impact on a country’s economic growth prospects as well as on its productivity levels and competitiveness. This may translate in serious negative effects for the individual’s well-being as well as for the cohesiveness of society.

For instance, entrepreneurship programmes in post-secondary or tertiary institutions are usually based on multiple-skills approaches. Students who follow such courses acquire key competences in creativity, innovation as they enhance their business acumen. In addition, they usually develop their social skills, particularly if they work in groups. Students can learn how to work collaboratively in a team environment. Educators should try to adopt student-centred approaches, including case studies, active participation in cooperative learning, exercises such as role-playing, debating, and the like. In fact, assessments of entrepreneurship studies may also involve the delivery of a sales pitch and the drawing-up of a business plan. Both of these tasks can be carried out in groups of three or four students. Ideally, students should also demonstrate their written communications skills. They may be required to produce media releases which feature their unique selling proposition(s) to their chosen markets. Such methodologies may possibly entice students’ curiosity and motivation in the subject. In the process, the students will also learn how to work in tandem as they develop their interpersonal skills.


In a similar vein, successful entrepreneurs also have to work closely with people. Perhaps, it is critical for business owners (including micro-enterprises) to foster great relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors and more. It goes without saying that some individuals may exhibit higher interpersonal traits than others, but others can learn and improve upon their existing skills. As prospective entrepreneurs, the students are expected to come up with fresh, innovative ideas, and make good decisions in their projects. Arguably, creativity, problem solving and recognising opportunities in the marketplace are some of the specific skills that may be acquired. However, it is important that the students’ decisions are based on relevant market research. The entrepreneurship programme will have to provide practical skills and knowledge to enable the student to produce effective goods or services in a profitable manner. One of the learning outcomes of this subject is to help students to set their goals and to create good plans to achieve them. Afterwards, the students can proceed with the organisation, leadership and implementation of their project. The students’ multi-skills will help them leverage themselves and to achieve a competitive advantage over others.


The theoretical aspect of the entrepreneurship studies teaches students how to develop coherent, well thought-through business plans. The students acquire sufficient knowledge of the main functional areas of business (sales, marketing, finance, and operations). In addition, the students are taught how entrepreneurs raise their capital. They will also learn about financial projections and how to determine the break-even point of their projects.


Indeed, the entrepreneurship studies focus on developing the students’ potential skills. Throughout such pragmatic educational programmes, the students will have to use their abilities and talents to operate resources or to manage others with a reasonable degree of confidence and motivation.  The students who are successful in their entrepreneurship studies nurture their skills, knowledge and competences. This contribution suggests that multi-skilling approaches in education can bring increased competitiveness and productivity in the labour market.

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