The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

Watch: Malta’s tourism sector this summer ‘relatively satisfactory’ – Minister Bartolo

Janet Fenech Saturday, 11 September 2021, 09:16 Last update: about 12 months ago

Malta’s tourism sector this summer has been “relatively satisfactory”, Minister for Tourism, Clayton Bartolo told The Malta Independent on Friday.

According to Bartolo, this August, Malta welcomed around 200,000 tourists; equivalent to 85,000 more tourists than in 2020 and 138,758 fewer tourists than in 2019.

“The tourism industry will remain cautiously optimistic,” he stated, with the numbers still lower when compared to pre-Covid-19 pandemic days.

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Bartolo described this summer’s tourism market in Malta as a “late market,” which saw tourists booking their holidays to the island at the last minute.

Earlier this year, Bartolo had announced a €100 voucher scheme for tourists 65 years of age and older who book a fifteen night or more holiday in Malta between October 15 and December 19.

Nonetheless however, Bartolo noted that despite a strong touristic demand, Malta’s tourism sector has had to work in accordance to the local health authority’s travel restrictions against the spread of Covid-19.

The government has injected a €20 aid package to the tourism ministry to kick-start the sectors recovery which was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Eurostat figures show that Malta’s tourism industry suffered the hardest blow in comparison to its European counterparts.

Last year, the economy lost €2.2 billion in annual spending from tourism due to COVID-19, Bartolo had said in April.

After months of restrictions, on 1 June the government had effectively “reopened” the country to tourists, accepting both a (72 hour prior to boarding) PCR test as well as an EMA-approved vaccination certificate, with visitors needing a second dose of the vaccine at least 14 days prior to their arrival on the island.

The total inbound visitors for August in 2020 were estimated by the National Statistics Office (NSO) at 114,458, a decrease of 66.2 per cent when compared to the corresponding month in 2019, whereas the total inbound visitors for August 2019 were estimated at 338,758, an increase of 6.7 per cent when compared to the corresponding month in 2018.

Bartolo concluded by saying that now that some mass seated events are approaching and standing up events are in the works, these events are an example of how Malta’s tourism sector recovery plan is “proactive” whilst at the same time adopting the national health authority’s protocols against the spread of Covid-19.

He thanked those who have been attending events whilst following the pandemic protocols, as this is enabling the recovery of Malta’s culture and events sector.

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