The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable tourism practices and to encourage stakeholder participation. Designation of the International Year has strived to promote tourism’s role in the key areas of Economic growth, Social aspects, Environmental protection, Cultural values and Understanding.
In the local context of the Maltese Islands, the environment links to the International Year’s key areas especially in the designated protected sites of natural importance – the EU’s Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) – which have resulted in more awareness on species distribution and habitat protection. Dingli Cliffs are part of the largest SAC in the Maltese Islands, covering 15km2 out of the total 316km2 of land area. Although our SACs are small when compared to other SACs at the European scale, the SAC of which Dingli Cliffs is part of – called Rdumijiet ta’ Malta: Ir-Ramla ta’ Għajn Tuffieħa sax-Xaqqa (MT0000024) consists of several landscapes, supporting habitats and rare species which require enhanced conservation and awareness.
Indirectly, The Cliffs Interpretation Centre has been relating to the key areas of economy, social aspects, environment protection, cultural values and understanding by its daily gastronomical, educational and innovative practices. For almost six years, The Centre has strived to maintain its aim of reaching all types of visitors, which practically make up almost all that visit Dingli Cliffs. Combining education provision with gastronomy has been an effective way by which The Cliffs Interpretation Centre highlights what is important about Dingli Cliffs, thereby convincing visitors of their value.