Thinking about appreciation for quality in Malta

Malta is one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries.

Generations came and went, leaving a trace of themselves on everything, from the food to the culture. Ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish and lastly the British for over 160 years before the island state gained its independence.
Limited natural resources, an ever-growing service-based economy with a financial sector and online gaming industry.

Part of the attractiveness of Malta is the warmth and openness of its people and secret spots, that I want to keep for myself forever.

I see the beauty of the simple things, but I like the sophisticated ones. I value unique, quality, local experiences from different angles. Where high standards come first and the other aspects are secondary. I can’t risk more what I appreciate as local or as traveler. We lose so many things because of increasingly demanding consumers.

In today's highly competitive business environment, (big surprise) almost no-one is concerned enough with real customer satisfaction and sustainability. The reason: buyers with poor judgment are everywhere. This is the market that will accept poor products or services. Even if it is over- or underpriced. We live in a world where making unfair quality is cool. People buy or consume them anyway. We went to the opposite, customers are never right. Not respected. One goes, two will come anyway. You can just talk down to them and look for any possible way to extract more money from them.

We have more knowledge and technology, but it is harder to find quality more than ever. Why? I’m thinking and thinking…
the conclusion is always the same: people are just being people everywhere. Trying to survive, being greedy and playing ego games most of the time. Looking for shortcuts, more money in the easiest way and, of course, in the shortest time.

Pretending to be caring, at least for a social media post. Considering only short term effects, ignoring long term impacts, because it seems too far away to make it as an own business. There are many excuses not to handle customers in fair conditions. So you just close your month and find your way to handle the situations. Your feelings are wrong, so sleep in your winter coat in a 5star hotel with the best reviews, because they said at the reception: “the heating is working”.

I used to collect places in a map to share quality places and services, but I realized there is no point to do so. If there is a really nice spot in the world what ticks all of your appreciation for quality preferences, you usually start recommend it. People will start to go there, more and more. And in the end it loses its true essence. Masses ruin everything. Many places are losing their souls for short term profit. And I’m losing faith and hope in the long term.

Living in different countries is my life, not a social media’s hashtag strategy. I consider as a home a few of them in different continents. Being in a place far from home allows me to recalibrate, to question everything and to start from scratch. I try not to travel too much and be smart about combining purposes around a trip. While I do my best to condense my trips, I do visit countries in separate continents.

Despite those facts, I try to avoid places where I can’t find fair services. Fair means a lot. Fair to the locals, but fair to the guests in harmony with the environment. I’m extremely picky, but not careless. I know exactly where I travel. I’m not expecting 5star hotel services in the middle of nowhere where people prefer to be barefoot without clothes. Please allow me to say as a tourism professional and as a well traveled human being, I’m always extremely prepared for the economical and cultural limits. Surprises always come, but there are so many things which ones are changeable. Why don’t we change for the better? Not only for us. Many things are not just stupid complaints... we all have obligations, but people love to forget it in different industries. Why? There are way too many people who are spending their money on no matter what. So less and less try to provide quality or try to improve.

Paying a higher price in the hope to get something better is not working anymore. You can’t trust even in luxury/high standard brands. Maybe there was a time when it used to be a trademark, security. Nowadays, same-same, but different. Unfortunately most of the time only in the price range. Behind them are only empty promises.

I have so many disappointments in different airlines. Even in the best airlines of the world. I’ve blacklisted so many of them I almost don’t have any to fly with. In my opinion, if you reach a good position in world economy you can’t let avoidable big mistakes to happen. On the other hand almost everyone wants to fly all the time no matter what. And here we are. 
Low cost airlines give opportunity to do that. Selling tickets for 3hours flight for the same price as an 1hour bus ride. They started to compromise on seats, food, luggage and now (almost) you clean the aircraft. It can happen that in a dangerous situation, as a consequence of the random seat selection system, a “who cares” person is responsible to open the emergency door after reading a very short guide.
Oh yes, we can do everything what we want. People love to think and live like that. But how many of us were in an emergency situation in the air to know how to react? If you have ever flown, you have definitely seen people’s carelessness. Or their limited brain function in the airport and on the plane which usually kicks in during the check-in. Queuing is the hardest, mixing every row, priority - non-priority. Airlines’ staff are doing mostly nothing, maybe whispering softly: priority. If you survived this, the show goes on in the air too. Landing procedure is a new extreme sport category. Inpatient people try their best to stand up sooner as possible to collect their luggage, to make phone calls and to start a queue at the door. Our lovely flight attendants are trained to do their best on assessment center interview series, but obviously not for this. Anyway, nobody cares about passengers’ complaint forms so the salary comes at the end of the month. Who knows how many of them are the “employee of the month”.
Despite these, flights are still bad. The Swedish word “Flygskam” describes the shame what many of us feels when flying because of the pollution. Trips by air can have a remarkably large carbon footprint, cutting back on it should be an obvious goal for anyone and not only for those who are concerned about their contribution to global warming.

What if we started slowing down and not consuming so much experiences and stuff, just because it’s there and cheap and available. Think about it. It’s amazing how that process makes sense financially, ethically, environmentally.

So what to buy if you need something? Where to travel when you feel the need? When are these things inevitable? Everyone wants to live a life and there are essentials. Choosing well sometimes seems impossible. We have more and more options, but actually we have less quality options. We make mistakes, it’s normal, but nowadays mistakes are the norm which is not normal. We live to complain or fill complaint forms. Is it really normal? Complaints are getting ignored and services getting worst. I’m becoming the grumpiest person in the word in the eyes of others, because I’m constantly looking for the best and the improvements which could be made.

The greatest threat is the belief in most people’s mind that someone else will do something. I feel that our survival is at risk. We have run out of excuses and time. You say you love your family, your children above all, but you are stealing their future in front of their eyes. We need a revolution of mentality.

According to experts we have 11 years to avoid a massive catastrophe. A few years ago the climate crisis was still like a religion. “Do you really believe in it?” - I got so many questions like this. Unfortunately there are still many deniers, despite the effects we already see. More than 12 years ago I started to act and talk about environmental issues. Today I know that self development, eating local, seasonal, pesticide free foods, waste management or buying fair clothes is not enough. They are inevitable and important, but the world will not be changed by them alone. We should remember what we want for ourselves, our family, the planet and its inhabitants in the long run.

The business-as-usual approach is no longer desirable. We require new approaches. Sustainable development is everyone’s responsibility, be it the government at its various levels, private sector and civil society in its many components. Achieving such a vision will require the support and engagement of all sectors of society. We must ensure that local and global initiatives who take the climate crisis seriously are fairly supported at the political level. 

I think it is kind of an obligation for everyone even if you don’t have children. If you have or planning there is no question mark. Get up and do your best and even more every day.

I would say quality is more important now than ever before.