Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo launching the plan, Source: MaltaGov

Malta gradually reopens to tourists from 1 June

Malta gradually reopens to tourists from 1 June

The Tourism Recovery Plan focuses on attracting “free, independent travellers”

Summer is drawing near and tourism-dependent countries are pulling out all the stops to reopen the sector amid unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic. The race for a larger share of the pack of lockdown-weary, vacation-hungry travellers now boils down to portraying your home country as both attractive and safe – and delivering on this promise.

EUR 20 million funding injection

With this in mind, Malta Tourism Authority has launched a recovery plan for the sector with a funding scheme worth EUR 20 million in direct aid and commitment to local businesses and tourism establishments.

Presenting the plan at a news conference on 30 March, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo said that Malta will start gradually welcoming tourists from 1 June. He added that the timing has been agreed with the Public Health Authorities together with all players in the tourism sector. In the coming weeks and months, schemes will get underway concerning travel operators, English language schools, the Conference sector (MICE) as well as the events and festivals sector.

A key aspect of the plan is attracting free independent travellers – a growing segment of individual tourists who shun organized groups and travel packages, and prefer to plan their own trips. In addition, there will be initiatives addressing Quality Assured Visitor Attractions, long-stay tourists, sports tourists, including diving enthusiasts. 

According to Bartolo, the ultimate goal of the plan is to get local tourism on the road to recovery in the shortest possible time, so that Malta can generate the necessary number of tourists to support the investment made by the local sector. The Minister stressed that the first markets that the island will open to will be the European ones and the United Kingdom because these are expected to have achieved satisfactory vaccination levels by the beginning of June.

Asked about the use of the Digital Green Certificate, Bartolo reassured that it won't lead to discrimination of unvaccinated people and will not be the sole travelling option, as a negative PCR test taken hours before travelling will also be accepted.

Aerial and naval access

"For next summer in terms of air connectivity, Malta International Airport will be on the map of 18 different airlines with 4 of them operating for the first time in our country. These numbers are equivalent to 70 percent of the airlines that were operating to Malta back in 2019," remarked Minister Clayton Bartolo, quoted by the government press service.

Regarding sea-bound tourism, Malta’s Grand Harbour will be part of 34 different routes of cruise line companies during summer months, added the Minister.

"I firmly believe that we have set foot on a beautiful path that lies ahead. However, I call on the public to remain focused, prudent and above all responsible. The road to normalcy remains a challenging one and therefore the success of this plan will depend on the behaviour of each and every one of us," concluded Minister Bartolo.

Broad endorsement

The Malta Tourism Recovery Plan has received a warm welcome across the board, writes Malta Today. The Federated Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (FATTA), the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), and the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) all gave thumbs up to the plan, describing it as a critical investment for Malta to compete with other destinations over the coming summer.



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