PD calls for Farrugia Portelli’s head over handling of COVID-19 situation

PD: Knock-on effect on the Maltese economy, intimately connected to tourism, will be devastating if the long term downward spiral of visitor numbers continues

The PD has called for the
The PD has called for the "immediate resignation" of Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli

Partit Demokratiku is calling for the immediate resignation of Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, saying her handling of the COVID-19 situation has caused Malta’s tourism product to suffer.

“Hospitality operators have shared with us their grave concerns about the impending fate of the industry, their investments and their employees and their families. The knock-on effect on the Maltese economy, which is intimately connected to the tourism industry, will be devastating if the long term downward spiral of visitor numbers continues,” PD said.

“As a result of the bad handling of the crisis, Malta’s tourism product is suffering. Its reputation shall now be one of an irresponsible party island, and thus damages the objective of attracting high spending quality tourism over quantity.”

The statement comes hours after low-cost airline EasyJet announced that it was cancelling all of its package holidays to Malta for the coming weeks.

Malta requires a management team made up of “competent, experienced and qualified persons” who could instil some form of stability for the tourism industry which is haemorrhaging numbers, PD said.

The party said it endorsed the overriding vision as stated in the Ministry of Tourism’s National Tourism Policy 2015-2020 document, promoting “controlled growth, which is achievable through the targeting of appropriate markets with the aim of achieving higher rates of economic returns and returns on investment.” The document also outlines its vision through 2030 with a realistic snapshot of the industry in 2014 and with a clear, achievable and sustainable set of policies and measures, PD said.

“Saying that tourism operators’ confidence in the tourism ministry and minister was vital for continued investment,” the PD said, adding that Robert Abela had to replace Farrugia Portelli.

“We therefore appeal to the Prime Minister to do what is expected from him and appoint someone who can get the job done!”

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