Malta eyes boosting tourism by reopening airport
VALLETTA (Reuters) – In a bid to woo visitors from several European countries, Malta reopened its airport on Wednesday. However, the visitors will not include Britons, who account for 30% of the country’s tourists.
Tourists are expected to arrive from France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
“We hope to welcome 700,000 tourists by the end of the year,” Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said in a briefing on Tuesday.
The predicted figure is trivial compared to the 2.7 million who visited the island last year. Portelli said discussions were progressing to include UK in the list of countries.
President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association Tony Zahra predicted a slow start to the tourism segment with 15% of arrivals in July when compared to the same period last year.
Visitors to Malta were banned in March in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. However early last month, curbs on economic activities and bars and restaurants were eased.
Last week, the island reported only two new COVID-19 cases. According to health authorities, only 26 active cases are undergoing treatment. The island recorded nine fatalities linked to the virus.
“Malta is being advertised as a safe country”, Farrugia Portelli said, adding that tourists arriving in Malta do not have to undergo quarantine.
In the island’s airport, social distancing norms will be followed and tourists have to wear visors or face masks within the terminal and there will be thermal cameras to screen passengers, said Maltese authorities.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field