The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

MHRA rubbishes ‘sensational’ report causing ‘unnecessary alarm’

Thursday, 26 March 2020, 11:01 Last update: about 12 days ago

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) today rubbished a report published in Times of Malta, which it said is “sensational” and could cause unnecessary alarm in sensitive times.

Reacting to the article named “Virus impact on tourism ‘could cost economy €3bn’” published today by The Times of Malta, MHRA stated that the measures to mitigate the economic crises caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic announced this week by the Maltese Government in agreement with  MHRA and social partners are in sync with other measures announced by other countries. 


MHRA President Tony Zahra said that “These were previously unthinkable and their global impact is unprecedented. Tourism is particularly affected by the consequences of the pandemic and travel restrictions have been imposed in almost every country in the world. Tourism in Malta last year accounted for 2.1 billion euro out of a total GDP of 12 billion euro and despite that we are expecting significant losses over the course of this year, it’s not 3 billion euro as The Times of Malta is stating in its cover story today.”

Indeed, the tourism sector in the first months of the year marked record performance levels and as soon as travel restrictions will start to be relaxed, MHRA is confident that the tourism sector will gradually be picking up before the end of this year.  Undoubtedly, weeks of uncertainty lie ahead of us and no one can really foretell the future - that’s why claims made today by the Times of Malta that there can be a loss of 50,000 jobs may sound too sensational and cause unnecessary and unfounded alarms during such sensitive times”, the MHRA said.

Zahra emphasized that, “If anything, MHRA is working closely with the social partners and Government to safeguard the 50,000 jobs and more.”

Zahra added that: “Significantly, measures of support to the tourism sector which MHRA together with Government have devised aim to maintain work processes and systems in place as much as possible, hence ensuring job security and consequently enough capacity  to relaunch operations at the right moment.  Now it’s not the time to travel the world. But one thing is for sure: people's desire to travel and dine out will always be strong. As soon as the crisis situation returns to normal, Malta needs to be ready - and this is what the agreed measures aim to achieve.  Then we can do what we do best: Hosting guests and offering our customers a unique tourism experience.”

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