At the age of nine I won a school competition with my write-up about a very prominent site in our village, Ghar Dalam Cave & Museum (first settlers on our islands settled in this cave in c. 5900 B.C.) and I had to present the script myself on the National Radio Station, I think this was the beginning.
In 1988 a call from the office of the Malta Tourism Authority entrusting me to host an important journalist for a whole week saw me going wholeheartedly into preparing for the detailed itinerary and I enjoyed the experience so much that I never looked back. There weren’t many licensed guides then. I was the youngest and with plenty of work, I was out at every available moment, including weekends, night tours etc. I eventually quit my job as an Executive Officer with the Civil Service and took up tourist guiding freelance and full-time, working for different tour operators and agents.
The turning point came when Internet was introduced, with all agents and individuals competing on the same level playing field. My husband created his own website and he started offering private tours. He was practically the first in Malta to do so, creating customised itineraries. Some years later he suggested to me a few years later to set up my own company, my colleagues were wondering why I was interested in going round with just a couple or two.
My own brand featuring just myself and offering to clients over 30 years’ experience of in-depth information and creating quality themed tours. Malta Tour Guide was born with tours by Joan.
My enthusiasm shines through in my spiel, my expression, my attitude, and my face! Everybody can read me like a book! Unfortunately, my eyes give me away! I laugh, I joke, and I have to be me! Malta is a small island as I said! My clients say I know everybody! From the Prime Minister to the security at all the sites, everywhere we go. I treat my clients to Maltese traditional delicacies every day, on every tour, depending on where we are and what would be the best as a treat in the locale we would happen to be in! Obviously, I also partake in these small feasts! I make up for the intake by going to the gym and doing pilates!
Thanks to the prompt action by the Maltese Government and Malta Tourism Authority we were offered Master and Bachelor’s degree courses at the University of Malta, all sponsored and paid for. So, I am now completing my dissertation for a degree in Master of Arts in Tourism and Culture, hopefully to graduate in November 2021.
I can’t wait for tourism to restart. My plans are to cooperate with my colleagues from Private Guides of Europe, keep on offering top quality tours with a strong awareness of sustainable tourism and doing away with some of the stress through overloading of work. Malta is reopening in June 2021!