Persistent traffic jams and incessant roadworks, especially around the airport, are having a negative impact on tourism, two leading figures in the industry said on Friday.

Reports of slow-moving traffic all over the island and chaos caused by roadworks have been coming in thick and fast in recent days.

In Sliema and on the roads around Valletta, two areas popular with both locals and tourists, drivers have been reporting traffic jams until late at night.

Another traffic hotspot is the area around Malta International Airport, where works on the Kirkop tunnels project are still under way.

Tourists’ first and last impression of the Maltese islands is currently a very chaotic one due to roadworks in the vicinity of MIA- Airport CEO Alan Borg

This is compounded by an increase in passenger traffic during the summer season, with drivers in recent days complaining of traffic diversions, delays and long tailbacks throughout the day.

“The tourist experience has to be upgraded all around. There is no doubt that the island can present itself better,” the head of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, Tony Zahra said.

Example of bad planning

He slammed the airport project as an example of bad planning that has resulted in widespread disruption and has had a direct impact on the tourism industry.

“This should have been given priority, especially since tourists started returning after the pandemic. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and nobody ever communicates with the stakeholders on these issues even though they impact us directly,” Zahra contended.

Malta International Airport CEO, Alan Borg also believes the works leave a negative impact on tourists’ experience here.

“This is our first proper summer since the outbreak of the pandemic and, unfortunately, tourists’ first and last impression of the Maltese islands is currently a very chaotic one due to roadworks in the vicinity of MIA,” he said.

“Having said this, we do understand that these works are a necessary evil,” Borg acknowledged.

Those travelling, he said, should plan “well ahead” of their flight departure times.

Tourist areas 'filthy'

Zahra said that while the traffic issues remain a concern, the general lack of cleanliness all over the country is another problem that needs to be urgently addressed.

Popular tourist areas, he said, have become filthy in recent weeks and it seems as though little is done to address this problem.

“A tourist’s experience is either positive or negative and,  therefore, these are urgent matters that need to be urgently addressed,” Zahra said.

In June, ahead of the summer tourism rush, the MHRA, the mayor of St Julian’s and the Chamber of SMEs highlighted the persistent problem of dirt on the streets in the locality.

They blamed the lack of enforcement on existing legislation regulating waste disposal and insufficient resources for the trash problem in touristic areas.



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