The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

20,000 passenger movements in first week since airport reopening

Thursday, 9 July 2020, 14:37 Last update: about 1 month ago

20,000 tourists have visited Malta after just one week of the airport reopening, Tourism Minster Julia Farrugia Portelli revealed on Thursday.

On 1 July, the Malta International Airport (MIA) reopened its doors to a number of destinations, known as safe-corridors, after closing down for 4 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 March.

During the reopening ceremony, Minister Farrugia Portelli had said that, on the first day alone, 1,800 were expected to arrive in Malta while a total of 81 flights were planned to come in by the end of first week. 

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On Thursday 9 July, a day over a week since the reopening of the MIA, the Tourism Ministry revealed that over 220 flights to and from Malta have been registered, as well as 11 trips by sea through the use of the catamaran.

This resulted in Malta welcoming a total of 20,000 tourists over the course of a week.

Farrugia Portelli said that these numbers are encouraging and that there has already been a considerable increase in hotel bookings.

After visiting and speaking to a number of hotel owners in Malta, the minister explained that the hospitality industry is looking forward to welcoming more tourists in the coming days as the MIA starts opening its doors to more destinations in the coming weeks.

The feedback from tourists has been also been encouraging as their main concern with travelling was finding a safe destination, something which Malta provides, she said.

“We are committed to taking every opportunity that comes our way which will revitalise this industry which is so important for our country by increasing connections and visitors in the coming months,” she said.

The MIA is expected allow flights to come in from all destinations on 15 July. This includes the UK which has been subject to controversy due to it still experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The minister had primarly said that diplomatic discussions were underway for Malta to be included in the UK travel 'green list' and when this newsroom asked for further updates she said that many British tourists have postponed or kept their bookings to visit the island. "UK tourists are crucial for our list, and we know that many British tourists are also waiting and looking forward to visiting Malta."

A day later it was revealed that Malta has been included in Britain's 'travel corridor' list of 50 countries that will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers.

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