A week-long field trip took students from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Tourism and Tourism Management to the island of Malta.
As part of the programme students attended a ‘Geography Matters’ Research Seminar organised by colleagues from the Department of Geography at the University of Malta, which showcased current research by staff and PhD students from both institutions. Tourism and Tourism Management students were also given a presentation by the Malta Tourism Authority, which provided an up-to-date insight into the current status of tourism on the Maltese Islands.
Geography and Environmental Science students visited the Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park, Malta's first natural national park, as well as the Ghadira Nature Reserve. As part of a practical conservation task, students were involved in dune scrub clearance within the Ghadira Nature Reserve. Other highlights of the field trip included a group visit to the island of Gozo, exploration of Valletta - the European Capital of Culture 2018 - and the walled city of Mdina, and a tour round the catacombs in Rabat.
Dr Victoria Kennedy, Lecturer in Tourism, said: “Although the Malta field trip first started in March 2003, this year marked the first time both second and third year Geography and Environmental Science, as well as third year Tourism and Tourism Management students took part in the trip.
“This new model was adopted to increase student engagement and increase student focus on conducting independent project work in the third year in an international fieldwork destination. The trip was a real success, partly due to getting some sunshine and escaping the cold UK weather, and gave students - as well as staff - the opportunity to conduct research while out in the field.”
During the trip, Dr Kevin Crawford met with Manager of Il-Majjistral Nature Park Darren Saliba and Professor Henry Frendo from the University of Malta, to develop his research in geotourism and the development and feasibility of geoparks in Malta.
Elsewhere, Associate Professor Janet Speake and Dr Kennedy continued their research into the development of luxury property, and its impact on the tourism industry in different parts of the island. Staff and student research activities were also enhanced by Professor John Schembri’s knowledge from the Department of Geography at the University of Malta, who joined staff and students on various activities during the week.