The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Watch: No scientific basis for Malta’s exclusion from UK Green List – Tourism Minister

Jake Aquilina Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 14:40 Last update: about 9 days ago

Malta’s exclusion from the UK’s Green List for travel does not seem to have a scientific basis, according to the Tourism Minister.

Malta has once again not been included in the UK Green List for travelling, even though the country boasts very good vaccination numbers – with the country being the first one to reach herd immunity in the EU – and very low active Covid-19 cases and transmission.

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It was only yesterday that Minister for Foreign Affairs Evarist Bartolo commented on the situation, noting that the country’s omission from the UK green list could be a politically motivated issue.

Asked whether he agrees with this sentiment, Minister Clayton Bartolo said that “from reports that I’ve read, even internationally, it seems that the British government has ignored scientific advice that was given to it.”

He added that, even though this has happened, he “forms part of the cabinet of Malta, not the UK”, so he would not like to delve into what decisions they have taken.

“However, we are still working so that we diversify the markets from where tourists come to our countries. This will help us so that in the future we will have a sector which is sustainable, and which would be capable of attracting people from different niches,” the minister said.

He observed that as a country, “we were doing everything we could”, and that from reports it seems that it was a surprise that the country was not included.

During the past few weeks, the Tourism Ministry announced a number of initiatives which were intended to help revive the sector. Asked what the impact of them was up till now, the minister said that these initiatives which have been injected to this sector and with “a cost 20 million” will help accelerate the recovery of this sector.

“Up till now there was a very good uptake, and a lot of interest, especially when it comes to sport tourism and diving,” he remarked.

Has said that the tourism sector is receiving an encouraging number of tourists, and that they are matching “what they were expecting”.

“The fact that a number of tourists have been coming into our country and that the Covid-19 cases have remained stable is a good testament that the strategy which we have together with the Public Health will let us reap the benefits,” he said.

The minister said that he could not provide any number regarding how many tourists they were expecting to come to the country as they are still “analysing them and will then publish them”, so that they are costed, but could not provide what targets the Government has in terms of the amount of people they would like to reach.

Photo and video: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

 

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