A controversial video production by the police force that was ordered off-air because it sent the wrong message about the island did not go down well with hoteliers, who gave it “zero” for effectiveness.

The video was withdrawn after it began making the rounds on the social media. Until it was removed, it had been viewed 60,000 times.

Zero marks for whether it will really achieve its intended objective; 50 marks for its content and 100 marks for the intention

It featured Superintendent Sharon Tanti warning foreigners, specifically English language students, against drinking too much, jumping from heights and walking around in bikinis unless at the beach. It warned that skinny dipping is illegal and that the Maltese do not like it when someone interrupts their siesta.

According to the Home Affairs Ministry, which ordered its removal, the police in-house production was “amateurish” and “did not reflect the country’s corporate image and marketing strategy”.

Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association president Paul Bugeja said when contacted that although it was a good initiative, the video left one with “mixed feelings” as it sent one reeling from 0 to 100. “Zero marks for whether it will really achieve its intended objective; 50 marks for its content and 100 marks for the intention and dedication in producing the video,” he said when asked for the association’s reaction to the production.

Home Affairs chief of staff Silvio Scerri said when contacted that the Malta Tourism Authority had not been informed about or involved in the video production.

“It was done with good intentions, I’m sure of that, but it was not in line with Malta’s marketing policy and was very amateurishly and unprofessionally presented. It sent the wrong message about the country and gave the impression that we are a nation of amateurs,” he said.

Moreover, the video, which is almost eight minutes long, was not factual as it gave the impression that the country was unsafe and that there were many pickpockets and beach thieves, something that was “not factual”.

The production included a staged tragedy in Comino featuring a tourist lying on the rocks with his head in the sea and blood gushing out of his head – a tragedy that never occurred.

The production has been criticised for its length, bad editing and incorrect use of the English language as well as dramatised events and the portrayal of Malta as being an unsafe country.

These factors were an issue for the Federation of Language Teaching Organisations of Malta (Feltom) which was involved in its production through its input on the script.

Feltom chief executive Genevieve Abela said when contacted that the involvement was limited to one of consultation in terms of script and subject matter. “It was always understood that this initiative would only be an option for schools to use during the induction meeting held with students on their arrival, complementing the student guide books produced by the monitoring board and given to each student on arrival,” she said.

While “applauding” the initiative, Ms Abela said the criticism attracted by the production was “exaggerated and taken out of context”.

“Feltom’s criticism was limited to the over-dramatisation and graphic display regarding Comino, and the incorrect pronunciation of the word ‘Malta’ in English, throughout,” she said.

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