The Malta Independent 20 June 2021, Sunday

Government authorities working to get Malta onto the UK’s green list, Tourism Minister says

Albert Galea Monday, 10 May 2021, 16:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Tourism, health, and foreign affairs authorities are working in a “very coordinated manner” to get Malta onto the United Kingdom’s green travel list within the coming weeks, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said on Monday.

Speaking to The Malta Independent in Valletta, Bartolo expressed his confidence that Malta will have a positive summer in the coming months.

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Bartolo was asked for his reaction to the somewhat surprising news that Malta is not on the UK’s first travel green list – which means that people arriving in the UK from Malta will still have to observe a period of mandatory quarantine after they get into the country.

The Tourism Minister first noted that the situation in Valletta, where the comment was taken, was very good on Monday – the day that restaurants reopened after just over two months of forced closures as a result of the Covid-19 restrictive measures.

He also observed that on the same day as Malta’s exclusion from the UK’s green list, Germany had removed Malta from their travel risk list – news which bodes well given that Germany is Malta’s second largest tourist market.

On the UK market, Bartolo said that the government is working in a “very coordinated manner” within the tourism sector, health authorities, and the foreign affairs corps so that Malta is included in the UK green list in the coming weeks.

Asked whether he is fateful that this will happen, Bartolo expressed his belief that when one works in a coordinated manner, then positive results will follow.

“That’s how we’re working, and I am convinced that with this work we will have positive results for the coming summer”, Bartolo said.

Many, including British-based travel experts, had touted Malta to be on the UK’s green list – which will allow quarantine-free travel – given the country’s exceptional rate of vaccination and the low number of Covid-19 cases being registered.

Malta was however put on the amber list, meaning that travellers must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days.

The list will be continuously reviewed by British authorities, with the next review expected to take place within a couple of weeks.

Reacting to the news, the MHRA said that it was “surprised” at the decision, agreeing with the general opinion being expressed by the major British travel and tourism stakeholders that the decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is not justified by the data or the science.

This decision will negatively impact the tourism sector in Malta at least for June. If not addressed urgently this situation Malta will lose what was appearing to be a good start to the summer season, the association had said.

MHRA also appealed to the Maltese authorities, in particular the Office of the Prime Minister and the Maltese diplomatic corps to take all the necessary action to ensure that Malta is featured in the UK green list since this is expected to be reviewed in the coming three weeks.

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