Tourists staying in Valletta are unhappy with late-night music being played in the capital and demanding compensation, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) said on Tuesday.

The MHRA, which has been a vocal critic of capital's new late-night music rules, also said that the sort of music and entertainment being put on was unbefitting of a high-end destination and hurting Valletta's image. 

The lobby group wants the government to suspend and re-evaluate two legal notices permitting late-night music in the city.

The legal notices, which were quietly introduced in June with no prior consultation, allow bars and restaurants to play music late into the night.

They were met by a chorus of complaints from residents and others.

Following an update to the law, establishments in nine of the most popular streets in the capital were given the green light to play music outdoors until 1am.

According to the legal notice, music is permitted until that time in Merchants, Old Bakery, Old Theatre, Republic, South, St Lucia, Saint Ursula, Archbishop, and Strait streets.

The notice stipulates that the music must be kept at a "moderate level" after 11pm, however, it does not specify the decibel limit of sound levels. 

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has defended the change, saying that tourists staying in Valletta had complained about the lack of late-night entertainment in the capital city. 

But the new rule continues to rankle with residents and several lobby groups, including the MHRA, which represents hoteliers and restauranteurs. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the association said the notices should be amended to fit a high-end destination like Malta's capital city. 

There is a “chaos of loud amplified music across Valletta”, the MHRA said, adding that such excessive noise pollution has led to an increased level of complaints and requests for compensation by guests staying at Valletta hotels. 

It targeted Valletta mayor Alfred Zammit for criticism, after Zammit told The Malta Independent that Valletta residents were "misguided" when criticising the new rule and that the situation is "under control". 

That was "misleading and inaccurate," the lobby group said. 

“The style and method of entertainment being currently promoted under the watch of the Valletta mayor contradicts efforts in positioning Valletta as a high-end destination, as agreed to by all tourism stakeholders through the national tourism policy," said the MHRA. 

“Facts demonstrate that the way currently entertainment is being allowed is leading to a deterioration of the quality image of Valletta as unique destination in Malta,” the MHRA said.

Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage City.

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