€60 million ITS campus still on the cards after EU post-Covid funding cut

The €60 million Institute of Tourism Studies campus slated for Smart City is still in the pipeline even though funding for the project was recently cut from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo confirmed without saying how the project is to be paid for now.

Asked by Opposition MP Chris Said for the status of the project’s tender and construction and opening dates, the tourism minister confirmed that excavation work is underway, that construction is expected to begin by the first half of 2024 and that it will open its doors to students around two years later, in October 2026.

Said did not ask, and Bartolo did not mention how the €60 million project will be funded after being dropped from the EU’s post-Covid funding.

The ITS project and the €16 million Bugibba ferry terminal were recently scrapped from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility after a ‘revision’ of Malta’s plans to spend around €328 million in RRF funds that need to be approved by the EU.

A downward revision in EU funds under the RRF was said to have been necessary due to Malta’s better GDP growth over the last two years, which made it eligible for fewer grants than had originally been allocated.

While reasons behind the choice to axe the ITS and Bugibba projects from the RRF funding are not altogether clear, it is understood that the ITS project may have faced disqualification issues because it predates the Covid-19 pandemic economic crisis by several years, which the funds are meant to be used to address.

The ITS campus project has been in the works since at least 2015 and was already embroiled in several shady circumstances, including the issue of extravagant direct orders to people close to disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi.

The Bugibba project will now be funded instead by the European Regional Development Fund, The Transport Ministry has informed the Shift, but the source of funding for the much larger ITS project still has a question n mark hanging over it.

If the government goes ahead with the ITS project, originally earmarked for completion in 2025, it will most likely need to seek alternative funding required since a provision for such expenditure was not made in the last budget.


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George Mangion
George Mangion
2 months ago

Memories fade quickly , but I recall in 2015/6 that the proceeds from sale to DB of ITS land valued by Deloitte of €15million ( subject to future redemption of groundrents by apartment owners) should have been enough to build a replacement ITS campus in Smart City.No need to wait for EU funds, yet now we are told the excavations started and if everything goes to plan ,the hotel plus campus will be functional by 2026. A ten year wait.

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
2 months ago

Fast when it came to selling the ITS to their backers, slow in carrying out their extravagant unrealistic promises.Confidence tricksters.

N Scerri
N Scerri
2 months ago

Basna tajna l art b xejn.Kissirnih ITS fi zmien kien istitut t eccellenza.U issa after all liema zaghzugh Malti ha jithajjar jistudja hospitality meta fqajna ir ristoranti u lukandi taghna bl Indjani u Pakistani.

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