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Malta offers up to EUR 200 per foreign tourist for a three-night stay at a local hotel
Gozo Fast Ferry Ltd will start operating a fast-ferry service between Gozo and the Maltese capital Valletta from June, reports Malta Independent. Another company, Virtu' Ferries, has previously announced similar plans, following the government’s decision to liberalize the services.
45 minute trip
Gozo Fast Ferry Ltd has announced investment in two state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly, high-speed passenger catamarans, equipped with the latest technology so as to operate in full compliance with Transport Malta requirements. Each vessel is capable of accommodating 300 passengers per trip, and will make the journey between Mġarr in Gozo to the Grand Harbour in Valletta in less than 45 minutes.
The company said it is collaborating with Malta Public Transport, the operator of the bus service, to guarantee “a value-added, seamless, interoperable and fast journey” to passengers, including holders of a Tallinja Card. To ensure quick boarding and descending from the vessel, the company will make it possible for passengers to pay for their trip using contactless bank cards, mobile phones and smart watches. Fares and schedules will be announced in due course.
EUR 200 bonus
With the summer season just around the corner, tourism-dependent countries are racing to offer various incentives to potential guests. Malta has come ahead of the competition with its offer to grant up to EUR 200 to foreign visitors who choose to vacation at the Mediterranean island for at least three nights.
Under the scheme, announced last week by Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo, the bonus can be reimbursed by tourists when directly booking a local hotel. Guests who book a stay in a 5-star hotel will receive 100 euros per person from Malta Tourism Authority, and another 100 from the hotel.
Holiday-makers who choose a 4-star hotel will be entitled to a total of 150 euros, while those staying at a 3-star hotel will receive 100 euros each. Financial incentives will be 10 percent higher when booking on the smaller island of Gozo.
Revenues from tourism, both direct and indirect, account for 27 percent of the Maltese economy, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. In 2019, the country was visited by more than 2.7 million foreign tourists, but after the Covid-19 outbreak, these numbers plummeted by more than 80 percent.
Now Malta is perfectly poised to receive foreign tourists again, as most of the pandemic-related restrictions are expected to be lifted by 1 June. The country has the highest percentage of vaccinated population in the European Union, with at least 42 percent of adults having already received the first shot. Authorities have managed to turn the infection curve sharply downward, with about 2.6 percent of tests currently positive.
The Maltese authorities hope that the introduction of EC-proposed Digital Green Certificates (vaccination passports of sort) will make travel easier. Clayton Bartolo said that he was in talks with his British colleagues to encourage the travel of Britons, who traditionally represent a third of tourists in Malta.
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