Employers’ association blames government for travel restrictions imposed on Malta

Government has come under fire from the Malta Employers’ Association for what it claims are ‘misguided and erroneous’ decisions related to COVID-19

The UK has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travellers from Malta, which is likely to stymie tourism from the country
The UK has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travellers from Malta, which is likely to stymie tourism from the country

Misguided and erroneous decisions taken by government are the cause of travel restrictions to Malta, the Malta Employers’ Association said.

The association was reacting to the latest travel restrictions by the UK that imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on people who travel from Malta. Similar restrictions were imposed by other European countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium.

The UK restrictions rule out an early tourism recovery, the MEA said. Britain is a key tourist market for Malta.

The MEA accused the government of opting for “selective” consultation with lobbyists, which resulted in “a misguided repositioning of Malta’s tourism product”.

This has caused hotels to record massive cancellations and the catering industry fearing the worst upon expiration of government vouchers. 

“Many companies are losing business, and families their livelihood because of the capricious lobbying of a few operators who stood to gain from turning Malta into a party island,” the MEA said.

It added that had the airport re-opened for tourists having a minimum risk of contagion and introduced strict controls on mass events, the current situation would have most probably been avoided.

“Significantly, these measures would have cleared government of responsibility and increased the chances of fast economic recovery… affected companies will be expecting an extension of the fiscal measures to keep them running and to prevent massive layoffs in the coming months, which will cost government and taxpayers millions,” the MEA said.

It added that the effectiveness of the government’s recent stimulus package to keep the economy running during summer “depends on the business response to these fiscal injections and the need to strictly enforce public health measures”. 

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