Launch of the Sustainable Interregional Bike Tourism (SIBIT) project

Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 8:46

The SIBIT or Sustainable Interregional Bike Tourism project, co-financed by the European Union ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) was launched onTuesday, 18th October 2011 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.  The project is being spearheaded locally by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) and the Local Councils’ Association (LCA).  The project is estimated to cost around €1.1 million and will be co-financed by the ERDF and supported financially by the stakeholders involved: The MTA, the LCA, as well as the Sicilian provinces of Agrigento, Ragusa, Siracusa, Trapani, Caltanisetta and the Polo Universitario of Agrigento.

The main objective of this project is to introduce and support joint and standardised infrastructural development in both Malta and Sicily within a natural and rural environment aimed at promoting bike tourism as a form of sustained tourism development.  In the run-up to the launch of the SIBIT project it was agreed that EU funding would be sought to promote bike tourism.  The SIBIT project aims to offer a tailored product to a growing niche market promoting the environment, a healthy lifestyle whilst helping to reduce the effects seasonality.  In addition the SIBIT project offers opportunities for economic development and growth in the tourism sector, and once this agreement expires the possible continuation of other collaborative projects arising through SIBIT

This project gives the possibility to both participating destinations to promote one another within a tourism oriented context.  Both countries can boast of a broad and varied tourism product relating to nature, the environment, culture, the art of cooking, architecture and history at large.  Furthermore, the temperate year round climate allows both regions to be in a position to uninterruptedly offer biking holiday opportunities to enthusiasts during the cold winter months as experienced in the northern hemisphere.

The cost of this project will be predominantly funded by the European Union.

During the SIBIT launch, MTA CEO, Josef Formosa Gauci, said that this project was yet another example of how the Authority was seeking to develop as many tourism niche opportunities as possible, especially in the sport segment, adapting to the changing trends, preferences and tourism patterns emerging, especially in Europe.  It also provides all relevant stakeholders with the opportunity to collaborate on a project that would ultimately benefit the tourism sectors of both regions, without the need to compete aggressively for the same niche market, providing a win-win situation for all concerned.





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