Aircraft loading passengers against a sunrise

Two of Malta’s leading organsiation representing operators within the tourism sector have welcomed the inclusion of Malta on the UK’s green list of countries to and from where travel is permitted without quarantine restrictions, describing it as “well-deserved”.

In a media release issued on Friday morning, MHRA President Tony Zahra stated that, “This is an important development for the recovery of the Maltese tourism sector this year.”

“The UK is a very important source market for Malta and therefore it is expected that this news will lead to a resumption in bookings from the UK in the coming weeks”.

However, Malta responded to the greenlisting by insisting that British visitors have a vaccination certificate recognised by local authorities. So far, the only certificate accepted is that issued in Malta.

Contacted for comment, Mr Zahra insisted that this has no material effect on the organisation’s thoughts, with the issue mainly arising, he said, from the UK’s position as a third country.

“It’s a technical issue,” he said, and expressed confidence that talks currently underway would yield results.

Mr Zahra stated that this development is a well-deserved result for all the coordinated efforts spearheaded by all stakeholders, including Government, health authorities, investors, employers, operators, employees, and the very much appreciated cooperation of the general public.

The MHRA commended the efforts spearheaded by Government in managing to create the right balance between the economy and the health and well-being of all.

“This indeed is a success story. But the challenges are not yet over,” it said.

The MHRA therefore appealed to all involved not to let their guard down whilst the relaxation of certain protocols by the health authorities is now important in order to ensure that hospitality operations are run smoothly and hence service excellence is ensured.

The MHRA also appealed to the relevant authorities to adopt policies which fast track the recruitment of foreign workers to sustain the operations of our Hotels and Restaurants.

Mr Zahra stated that, “we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel, therefore now it’s time to work harder to rekindle a tourism sector, which today more than ever before, is critical for our general economy and the well-being of our people.”

In a separate statement, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said it welcomes UK’s decision to add Malta to its quarantine-free ‘green list’ thanks to the collective efforts in keeping a very low COVID-19 case rate.

The Tourism Business Section within the Malta Chamber noted with satisfaction that vaccinated travellers from the UK will be able to visit the Maltese islands without the requirement of quarantine on their return to the UK.

“This is a significant development as the British market is Malta’s largest tourism market and the UK’s decision confirms the remarkable progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Malta,” said the Head of The Malta Chamber Tourism Section, Alan Arrigo.

He added that strict observance of health protocols remains critical to continue succeeding against COVID-19.

In their latest update, the UK authorities added Madeira, the Balearic Islands, and several UK Overseas Territories and Caribbean Islands to the green list.

All territories but Malta are on the ‘green watchlist’ and at a risk of turning ‘amber’.

Meanwhile, almost all other EU countries remain on the UK’s amber list meaning travellers returning to the UK must self-isolate for 10 days and take two PCR tests.

The Malta Chamber said it welcomes the Government’s decision to allow only vaccinated travelers in Malta from the UK and re-iterated its call on the authorities to ensure strict restrictions at the points of entry, especially at the airport, so the tourism industry continues to recover in a safe way without compromising the recent efforts.

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