The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) said it "fully supports" calls by travel and tourism stakeholders to end all remaining travel restrictions.

In a statement on Tuesday, the MHRA said that while recognizing efforts spearheaded by the relevant national authorities in managing the spread of the pandemic, the reduction of COVID-19 protocols that have taken place to-date "don’t go far enough to reflect the latest developments happening on this front in important source tourism markets and competing destinations".

"A patchwork of restrictions do nothing to prevent the spread of COVID but rather unnecessarily complicate the running of operations, leading to delays at the airport and business inefficiencies.” MHRA president Tony Zahra said

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen economies reopening. It is time to remove ineffective restrictions and allow people to travel freely.”

His calls are similar to those by airport CEO Alan Borg who told Times of Malta last week that Malta’s “haphazard travel restrictions” have played a major role in slowing the recovery of the tourism industry.

MHRA said that international travellers are looking for safe destinations which offer the path of least resistance, and right now despite that [Malta] is a safe destination with all the vaccinations carried out, the island is still considered to be a path of resistance for many travellers.

"This situation is continuing to impact negatively the recovery, despite that prospects for a pick up of the tourism sector for the coming season are highly positive.

"The war in Ukraine has created a situation where countries such as Cyprus and Turkey which depended heavily on Russian and Ukrainian tourists will be concentrating their efforts on marketing their products in other source countries most of which are our markets. We therefore expect serious competition in these markets and need to be able to compete on a level playing field, making it imperative that such restrictions are removed immediately.”

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us