A family of three from Gibraltar had to cancel a much-anticipated holiday to Malta after being told that their vaccine certificates would not be accepted by the Maltese health authorities for entry into the country.

Malcolm Martin, a 44-year-old football coach from Gibraltar, said that a holiday he had booked to Malta to enjoy with his wife and daughter had to be called off just days before they were set to take off after contacting the Maltese COVID-19 helpline, who told him that the family’s vaccine certificate would not be accepted in Malta.

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and, while it enjoys almost complete self-governance through its parliament, its head of state remains the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar.

Malta is only accepting vaccine certificates from the EU, Switzerland, the UK, Dubai and Turkey. However, Martin is questioning the decision, saying that, as Gibraltar’s vaccines are provided through the UK’s national health service, it should not make a difference.

“We are British citizens and our vaccines were supplied by the NHS. The only difference is that our vaccine certificate is supplied by the Gibraltar health authorities,” he said.

“To complicate matters, Malta has also changed its rules quite suddenly and the trip was no longer feasible. We were meant to fly on Saturday and today was the last day where I could get my accommodation expenses refunded. We had no other option but to cancel.”

Martin, who has Maltese ancestry on his mother’s side, said he had been enamoured by Malta since his first visit in 2019 and has since organised five trips here, the last of which was three weeks ago, when he had been working to organize a football tournament with his team’s Maltese counterparts.

The sudden evaporation of the family’s holiday plans have been disappointing for the Martins, who were looking forward to the trip.

“We were looking forward to travelling and enjoying Malta once again. I love Malta and every trip is a joy,” he said.

“We are not only disappointed for not being able to travel but we have also lost the money we would have spent on our holiday because the airline did not allow me to change the destination of the flight just two days before we were meant to depart. Friends of ours who were travelling with us were even less lucky and lost the money from their hotel as well.”

“All in all, it’s just a big loss.”

Questions sent to the health ministry were not answered by the time of writing.

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