No additional countries or territories will be added to the UK’s foreign travel green list on Thursday, according to the BBC, meaning Malta will once again miss out on the lucrative UK tourism market.
According to the report, it is still possible that some countries will be removed from the green list, and there is a “strong expectation” that there will be additions to the red list.
It comes after the country also missed out in the UK’s first green list three weeks ago.
The Maltese Government has targeted the country for the launch of an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at attracting tourists to Malta, and many speculators had suggested the country would be included in this week’s edition of the list.
Travellers from countries on the “amber list”, which is expected to include Malta, must self-isolate at home for 10 days, making leisure travel prohibitively inconvenient for most.
The official announcement, along with a complete list of countries on the green, amber and red list, is expected to be announced on Thursday evening.
It comes as, once again, UK media reports and local experts such as Malta Tourism Authority CEO Johann Buttigieg suggested that Malta was a “prime candidate” make it onto the list.
The country’s seemingly stable COVID case levels, along with its extraordinarily fast vaccine rollout might have made it an ideal destination for safe travel, and the omission will be disappointing to those businesses particularly reliant on UK tourists.
When Malta failed to make the last iteration of the list in mid-May, several hoteliers informed BusinessNow.mt that they had seen an abrupt decline in booking figures, as well as cancellation requests.
At the time, AX Hotel Group Hospitality Director Claire Zammit warned that “if the UK does not open up to us, it will be of great concern to our islands, as enterprises will not be able to sustain their costs any further without any sort of volume coming in”.
Not all in Malta will be disappointed by the development, however, and the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has suggested that Malta should adopt a wait-and-see approach to determine if vaccines work on the Indian variant before deciding whether to bar travel to the country.
The new travel lists will take effect next week on 10th June, and the next, updated list will likely be published on 24th June.
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