During a meeting between the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Prime Minister Robert Abela, MHRA President Tony Zahra stressed that the travel, hospitality and tourism sectors are here to stay, despite “the gross difficulties currently being faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the world".
The meeting was held as part of the pre-budget consultation process, while the Prime Minister has already met with various business lobby and business interest groups last week. The budget is to be announced this coming Monday.
Mr Zahra said the forthcoming budget needs to be geared towards safeguarding the tourism sector in the coming months, with a view to be in a position to thrive when the economy gets back on its feet.
Various initiatives were discussed, including the issuing of vouchers in the first quarter of next year rather than during the Christmas period, the continuation of the €800 wage subsidy for both hotels and restaurants for the coming six months, schemes supporting the retention of talented and experienced staff, tax support schemes and other initiatives which aim to enhance the tourism product including embellishment projects, improved safety standards and marketing.
Enhanced COVID-19 testing at the airport was also discussed. Mr Zahra emphasized that tourism is not just hoteliers and restauranteurs but includes everyone.
The MHRA said that more information will be communicated during a webinar to be announced shortly.
Present for the meeting included Minister of Tourism Julia Farrugia Portelli, Minister for the Economy Silvio Schembri, Minister of Finance Edward Scicluna and the Prime Ministery’s Chief of Staff Clyde Caruana.