The Malta Independent 29 July 2021, Thursday

‘Malta will receive tourists again at the beginning of June’, Tourism Minister says

Bettina Borg Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 15:51 Last update: about 5 months ago

Malta expects to see more tourists coming to the island and taking advantage of Malta’s tourism sector at the beginning of this coming June, Tourism and Consumer Protection Minister Clayton Bartolo said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Bartolo announced this while launching the Tourism Recovery plan – a plan to recuperate “the sector hit most by the Covid-19 pandemic” and help those struggling in the tourism industry.

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He announced that no less than €20 million euro will be invested in the plan and this will be divided across a number of schemes and incentives that will aid local tourism.

In the coming weeks, Bartolo said that a number of schemes will be launched which target different aspects of tourism in Malta and Gozo. Among them, the schemes will aid tourism sectors that work with individual tourists, sectors that deal with tourists with long-term visits to the island, sectors dealing with conferences, English as a foreign language schools, sportive tourism, diving and the organisation of events and festivals.

Bartolo said that he expects to see tourists arriving in Malta by early June, particularly those from Europe and specifically the United Kingdom. With the UK serving as Malta’s biggest travel market and UK citizens expressing an interest in travelling to Malta, Bartolo said he wishes to “capitalize on this interest” to motivate British tourists to visit Malta this coming June.

“The rate of the vaccine will be more satisfactory by June than the rate it is at currently”, Bartolo said. “European countries will also have a satisfactory rate of vaccination by early June too”. The combination of these two factors will propel European tourists to travel to Malta because they will feel safer, he said.

The tourism industry is also considering a green pass for Maltese citizens: a digital certificate that will allow those who have taken the vaccine to move from one country to another with no restrictions holding them back.

For the time being however, the tourism industry and the health authorities will only allow people hailing from red, amber and green listed countries if they present a negative PCR test.

Bartolo said that the plan was certified with the help of the health authorities, in order to safeguard the health of the general public.

“All our decisions strive to find a balance and give priority to the health of Maltese citizens and the tourists who will come into our country”, Bartolo said.

He also announced that no less than 18 airlines will be flying to Malta in the coming summer; four of which are new airlines. Bartolo did not disclose who the new four airlines are. He also said that “no less than 70% of the flights that Malta had before the pandemic will continue working” this coming summer. “We need to make sure that connectivity to our country remains a priority”, he said.

In tandem with airplanes, cruise liners will also continue their service this summer, with no less than 34 port calls scheduled until the end of June.

The Tourism Recovery plan will also see a boost in advertisement campaigns, which will promote the narrative that Malta is “an ideal country that one can come to where the measures are respected”. A “more aggressive campaign” will be targeted to the UK in particular to draw in British tourists to the island. Campaigns have been finalized with Expedia, Tripadvisor, Trivago and Lastminute.com.

Despite the promising future that Bartolo outlines for the tourism sector, he nevertheless appeals to the Maltese and Gozitan citizens to “be prudent and responsible for ourselves and those around us”.

“The success of this plan does not only depend on the government, but it also depends on every single one of us”, he said. “We will be at the forefront of coming out of this pandemic and we will be stronger than we ever were before”.

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