The Tourism Minister would not say how much the government has spent on advertising Malta as a destination to the UK market, after three countries imposed quarantine restrictions on UK arrivals to help curb the spread of the so-called Indian COVID-19 variant.

“The Malta Tourism Authority's work is not focused only on the UK but on several other countries as well. We rolled out several marketing programmes, including in the UK, that will be ongoing for the coming months,” Clayton Bartolo told Times of Malta. 

“These form part of our recovery plan for the tourism sector, for which we have allocated €20 million over and above our normal budget. The government is committed to supporting the sector as a key pillar in our economic recovery.”

Video: Jonathan Borg

In March, Bartolo had said the MTA was expecting to welcome British tourists in June, adding that a “special focus” was being put on the UK market. 

“We are currently in discussions with the health authorities to take a decision over travel from the UK, one of the most important source markets for Malta,” Bartolo said in March. 

But earlier in May, Malta failed to make it onto a ‘green list’ which would have allowed those arriving from the UK to travel freely without having to quarantine. 

While Bartolo has said that Malta was in close communication with British authorities to meet the criteria and get on the green list, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has insisted that the UK’s restrictions on travel were “unlikely to expand very rapidly”. 

This week, France, Germany and Austria announced quarantine restrictions for UK arrivals, with the spread of the Indian variant throwing another wrench in the works for British tourists.

British newspapers have also reported leisure tourists being turned away from the Spanish border after arriving from the UK with the necessary paperwork.

 

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