Malta effectively blocks British tourists as country is put on UK green travel list

Malta has been put on the UK's green travel list • Maltese health authorities say only fully vaccinated British tourists will be allowed in but as yet the only recognised vaccine certificate is the one issued by Malta

Malta has been added to the British government’s green list, meaning fully vaccinated British travellers will be able to travel without the need for quarantine on their return.

However, the much-anticipated decision has been met by a counter measure by the Maltese health authorities that effectively blocks British tourists from entering Malta.

The health authorities said only fully vaccinated British tourists will be allowed to enter Malta from 30 June but until now, the law only recognises COVID vaccine certificates issued by the Maltese authorities. Despite having said a couple of months ago that talks for the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates between Malta and the UK were being held, no developments have been reported yet.

Malta is set to join the EU green pass on 1 July.

The UK government's decision was announced on Thursday evening after an uproar from the British tourism sector, who felt the green list was too restrictive and didn’t reflect the success of certain countries' vaccination programmes.

All those who arrive in Malta from the UK without a vaccine certificate will have to quarantine. This decision was taken in the wake of the surge in Delta variant cases in the UK. The Delta variant was initially discovered in India and is now responsible for most new infections.

The rise in Delta variant cases has caused concern across Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for all travellers from the UK to be quarantined when they arrive in the EU.

Malta will be on the UK green list from 30 June.

Malta had previously failed to make the green list twice, despite the low cases and a successful vaccine programme.

Travelling to the UK from Malta

  • You must take a COVID-19 test on or up to two days before you travel. 
  • Children aged 4 and under do not need to take this test.
  • You do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

The Malta Chamber welcomes decision 

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry welcomed the UK’s decision to add Malta to its quarantine-free green list thanks to the collective efforts in keeping a very low COVID-19 case rate.

"This is a significant development as the British market is Malta’s largest tourism market, and the UK’s decision confirms the remarkable progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Malta,” said the Head of The Malta Chamber Tourism Section Alan Arrigo.

He added that strict observance of health protocols remains critical to continue succeeding against COVID-19. 

MHRA forecasts a steady recovery this summer 

“This is an important development for the recovery of the Maltese tourism sector this year. The UK is a significant source market for Malta and therefore, it is expected that this news will lead to a resumption in bookings from the UK in the coming weeks,” MHRA President Tony Zahra said in a statement. 

Zahra said that this development was a well-deserved result of all the coordinated efforts spearhead by all stakeholders, including the government, health authorities, investors, employers, operators, employees, and the very much appreciated cooperation of the general public.   

Furthermore, MHRA appealed to the relevant authorities to adopt policies that fast track the recruitment of foreign workers to sustain the operations of our Hotels and Restaurants. 

"We are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; therefore, now it’s time to work harder to rekindle a tourism sector, which today, more than ever before, is critical for our general economy and the well-being of our people,” Zahra said.