The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Coronavirus: Internal tourism is top priority, measures already being taken – Minister

Wednesday, 8 April 2020, 14:37 Last update: about 3 months ago

The first thing that the tourism industry will address once the Coronavirus pandemic blows over is internal tourism and measures are already being put in place, said Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli.

She was answering a question that The Malta Independent put forward after a press conference held on Wednesday morning, where the new methods of assessment for the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) were announced.

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Tourism was one of the first industries that were impacted with the Coronavirus outbreak in Malta since all inbound and outbound flights were cut off and most entertainment establishments were put on lockdown in March.

This newsroom asked Farrugia Portelli about how long she thinks it will take for this industry to bounce back after the pandemic blows over and what measures are being taken to ensure that this happens.

“No country can really give a day of when the industry will recover,” she said. “It all depends on the behaviour of every citizen in Malta and Gozo as the reality of the situation is that we have to continue functioning in this manner as long as the numbers keep increasing.”

Having said this, she explained that there already is an internal strategy in place that will be activated when Malta is safe and the health authorities give the ministry the green light.

This strategy is centred on internal tourism which will be the ministry’s main focus once this is all over.  Internal tourism refers to any tourism relating to the consumption of visitors, both residential and non-residential.

Farrugi Portelli explained that different measures are already being discussed with a variety of stakeholders about this.

She added that, in the first two weeks that tourism faced this predicament, the Malta Tourism Authority’s (MTA) marketing team started working on a campaign to promote tourism outside of Malta.

An example of this an agreement that the tourism sector has made with a number of historical sites in Malta which will see that there content can be accessed virtually. This is a project that is being directed by the MTA and Heritage Malta.

She explained that the MTA has strategically placed offices across the world which are marketing Malta from this aspect and it is already gaining recognition from foreign media with the concept of '”see Malta virtually now and visit later”.

There is also another campaign underway in collaboration with Italy and Spain which will be addressed during a press conference in the coming days.

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