Tourism shadow minister calls for regulation of open-top coaches

Nationalist MP Robert Arrigo calls on government to come clean on Air Malta plans.

The lack of regulation of open-top coaches was a source of concern for Nationalist MP Robert Arrigo.

Parliament convened this morning to discuss the budget allocation for the Ministry of Tourism. In his opening remarks, Arrigo said he had been taken aback at how the Finance Minister's budget speech dedicated only "250 words" for tourism.

The MP noted that while Edward Scicluna said the government would be carrying an overhaul of the tourism policy, Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella always said he would continue building on the previous administration's work. "It will be interesting to see who will win... whether Scicluna or Vella," Arrigo quipped.

The MP went on to voice his opinion on a number of matters concerning tourism, mainly putting forward suggestions and proposals on how the sector could be strengthened.

Arrigo also urged the minister to ensure that open-top coaches were regulated.

"Open-top coaches are important but we have to ensure they are regulated. Maybe few of you know, but open-top coaches are the only coaches who don't pay VAT," Arrigo said.

Open-top coaches were exempted from paying VAT because they formed part of the bus route.

"But the routes have changed and these coaches no longer form part of it. Now they go directly to the hotel, with representatives hassling tourists from early in the morning," he said.

Turning to Air Malta, Arrigo said it was worrying that the tourism minister had repeatedly failed to reply to questions raised in parliament.

"Not knowing where you stand is worrying. I have to ask again: will workers be laid off? Is there an investor ready for Air Malta? Rumour has it that Air China was interested," he said.

He added that there were two auditors employed by the government operating from Skyparks and the Minister should now explain what they were doing.

Taking the floor, Nationalist MP Tonio Fenech - previously responsible of Air Malta as minister for finance - said the Labour government "could not blame the previous government" if something went wrong with the national airline's restructuring process.

"I want to hand the keys over to the minister so he could start shouldering the responsibility and recognise the government had to start doing something to ensure that Air Malta's restructuring process remains on track."

Fenech said the government's repeated statements that the board responsible of the restructuring process would be held responsible, were "surprising".

"The financial statements presented by Air Malta show that the airline's restructuring process is on track," Fenech said. "The government must now stop blaming its predecessor and start shouldering responsibility."

Speaking on culture, Nationalist MP Francis Zammit Dimech revealed that the individuals who had been responsible of making Malta's candidature to the V18 a reality, had now been informed that their contract won't be extended at the end of the year.

Only one member would not be axed, Zammit Dimech said.

Robert Arrigo qieghed jitkellem ghal gid tal pajjiz jew ghal gid tal kumpanija privata tieghu? Jaf li s sidien ta l-Open Top Buses ihallsu Eur 37,000 kull sena fuq kull rotta? Kif ghandu jizdied il Vat ukoll? Dan jigi konflitt ta nteress. X inhu jistenna Dr Simon Busuttil biex inehhih mill pozizzjoni tieghu?
Robert Arrigo qed jitkellem ghal ahjar tal Pajjiz jew ghal ahjar tal kumpanija private tieghu? Robert Arrigo jaf li s sidien ta' L Open Top Buses ihallsu Eur 37,000 du
Robert Arrigo jixtieq l ahjar ghal pajjiz jew l ahjar ghal business tieghu? Robert Arrigo jaf li l kumpaniji ta' L Open Top Buses ihallsu Eur 37,000 fu
.....The lack of regulation of open-top coaches was a source of concern for Nationalist MP Robert Arrigo. Ara qam Arrigo fl-ahhar! Mela fejn kien dan daqs kemm ilhom dawn ilopen top coaches. Qralu bhal Lazzru meta beda jinten qam mill mewt, jew gralu bhal ghama ta Jerico waqalu l-ghamad fl-ahhar. U hallina nghixu Arrigo. M'hemmx Politikant Nazzjonalist li ma hux IPPOKRITA. Ghaliex hallejt kollox jitkisser tahtkom ? kieku nistaw nimxu il-quddiem u irridu nergu nibdew mill-bidu.
not just regulating topless coaches,but topless and naturist beaches and resorts/hotels!malta has to diversify and attract tourists in winter when the weather is fantastic and cold and miserable in other countries.what they need is a closed heated sauna/pool and relax area etc etc