“Recent statistics released by Standard and Poor’s have identified the arts industry as one of the sectors that was most hit by the current economic crisis,” said Howard Keith Debono, President of MEIA as he was opening Tuesday’s press conference held at The Malta Chamber in Valletta.

The Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association was launched a month and a half ago.

During this period, the Executive members of this association worked around the clock to meet with all stakeholders in the industry, the MEIA said in a statement.

After such a process, MEIA spearheaded a campaign that saw the recommendation of specific guidelines that safeguarded the interest of the people in the industry, “as well as the general wellbeing of Malta’s society”.

Unfortunately, the implementation of such measures came late.

Right after that campaign, MEIA proposed a set of 10 points that would help the entertainment and leisure industry. These 10 points are the following:

1.Include the entertainment and arts industry in Annex A. MEIA also proposed that the wage supplement issued by the Maltese Government should be extended until this sector is fully operational.
2. The introduction of a ‘cancellation subsidy’.
3. Investment in entertainment venues in order to be ready for re-opening when the time is right.
4. Implementation of a guarantee/facility that is aimed to incentivise the private sector to start planning events for the coming months, keeping their minds at rest should a COVID/ pandemic related cancellation happen.
5. Digitalisation of the industry.
6. Financing of new projects from professional individuals and entities.
7. The setting up of a fund that would enable the buying of arts.
8. A reduction of taxes for companies that want to invest in our industry.
9. A reduction of tax rates for artists and musicians.
10. The launch of a scheme that injects funds directly into Malta’s cultural sector.

“Last but not least, the third and final proposal highlights the fact that we cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ direction but a holistic approach” said Howard Keith Debono.

MEIA President Howard Debono stressed that the entertainment and arts industry cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather “a holistic approach”.

During today’s press conference MEIA’s Vice-President Toni Attard said that the situation needs urgent direction. In light of this, MEIA is also proposing the following four points:

1. Necessary help is given to all stakeholders and people in the industry.
2. Implementation of strategies that reflect the current needs of different sectors in our industry.
3.The creation of incentives that aims at the creation of a long-term plan.
4.The promotion of local talent.

Addressing the press conference, The Malta Chamber President David Xuereb said that the creative sector was integral to the design of a new economy for a modern Malta. He stated that the re-engineering of business models which will need to take place in the near future to guarantee a sustainable and resilient economy require the talent of the creative sector to be at its core.

Following a spike in cases in mid-July, the authorities placed fresh restrictions on mass gatherings, such as separating event-goers into clusters of 10, no more than one person may occupy every four-square meters of space, indoor venues are to be capped at 100 persons and outdoor venues at 300 persons, irrespective of the venue's size. 

Since the new measures were effected, Malta's events industry has essentially ground to a halt. 

Main Image:

Howard Debono, MEIA President 

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