Language schools received 10,711 bookings for the second and third quarter of this year, but these numbers will be lost and the language sector doomed if it remains shut because of extended COVID-19 measures, the federation which represents the sector warned on Tuesday.

Throughout the pandemic, ELT schools, members of the Federation of English Language Teaching Schools (FELTOM), have been incessantly marketing themselves and their courses and the result of these efforts has been very positive, the federation said. 

Each student booking means an average stay of three weeks.

Language schools are currently restricted to just online teaching as a result of the pandemic measures.

According to the survey, the extended closure over the past months for English language schools led to 2,124 cancellations. Schools also reported an additional 2,849 English language learners who postponed their travel plans indefinitely.

“The English language teaching industry in Malta has, for the past 14 months, experienced financial devastation with no end in sight. The industry has been respectful of and compliant with government measures from the start and has been lobbying with the government for financial aid for weeks to ensure that the businesses, which contribute so much to Malta’s economy, will survive,” said Rebecca Bonnici, FELTOM’s chairperson.

“We feel that if the ELT industry continues to be discriminated against, these 10,711 bookings, together with the potential 2,807 that have postponed their travels, will be lost to competing markets which have started to open their doors to ELT students, effectively putting the last nails in the industry’s coffin.”

The markets being targeted by FELTOM’s member schools include Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Turkey. 

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