Tourism industry welcomes ‘mini-budget’

Mdina entrance
Nicole Borg

The economic package announced by the government on Monday night was welcomed by representatives of Malta’s tourism industry, who generally agreed that the measures would provide a timely boost to an industry which has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association described the package as “far-reaching,” and “impressive.”

“The economic regeneration plan demonstrates that the Government has the right feel of the economic and social situation brought on by Covid-19 and this plan will effectively contribute to reigniting the tourism sector and the rest of the economy,” MHRA president Tony Zahra said. “The coming months will not be easy for hotels and restaurants, however, an economic stimulus of circa €900 million will definitely boost confidence in the tourism sector as a whole and augurs well for consumers, employees and all other stakeholders including investors.”

The Gozo Tourism Association said that while – as realistically expected – the measures would not restore tourism to pre-Covid levels, they would certainly boost the tourism industry, particularly in Gozo.

The Association of Catering Establishments also welcomed the “pro-market” incentives, highlighting the extension of wage subsidies, subsidies on rental, licences and utility expenses and the vouchers, which it said would help “bridge the gap in profitability and liquidity brought on by recent operational pressures and social distancing requirements.”

€100 vouchers eagerly awaited

All three associations highlighted the government’s plan to give every Malta resident aged 16 and up €100 in vouchers, which are to be spent mostly on catering and accommodation.

The GTA highlighted that this initiative would likely benefit Gozo substantially, since the island was already a favourite destination for internal tourism.

The ACE, meanwhile, noted that its members have reported a positive trend following the lifting of measures restricting dining at restaurants, though revenues still fell 40-60% short of pre-pandemic levels. The measures – including the vouchers – would however continue to encourage this upward trend, it said.

The MHRA highlighted numerous initiatives which, it said, would benefit the industry.

“The Economic Regeneration Plan does not leave any stone unturned and is a clear demonstration that the Government has taken on board the serious difficulties faced by all stakeholders of the industry and has come up with a package that is indeed impressive,” the association maintained.

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news, download the Newsbook APP here.