A step in the right direction for Malta’s Tourism Industry

Malta Tourism Authority welcomes the great news that the Malta International Airport welcomed a total of 418,473 passengers in September, which also marked the first time, since 1999, that September outpaced August in terms of passenger traffic, and the strongest month, in terms of passenger volumes, since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Seat-occupancy levels also remained below pre-pandemic levels, as airlines carried passengers to and from the airport at an average seat load factor of just over 70%.

The recent news published by the Malta International Airport is truly encouraging for the local tourism sector. Notwithstanding the challenging times, Malta managed to strike a balance between the lives and livelihoods of the Maltese people. We will continue working hard to assure that the hospitality industry continues to recover and assure that Malta becomes a home of tourism excellence for the years to come,” remarked Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.

This is great news for Malta, especially given the circumstances which we all have had to live with in the past months, and naturally, it fills us, as an Authority, with a strong sense of positivity, coupled with the right amount of energy, to look forward to ending 2021 and starting 2022 with further positive results. I believe that our marketing efforts, together with the €20m-strong Tourism Recovery Plan which we have laid out together with the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection, as well as, the excellent way in which the Health Authorities have handled, and are still handling the pandemic, all played a crucial role in the positive results which we have seen for September. This is also another example of just how important it is for all stakeholders to work together for the greater good, when faced with such an unprecedented crisis,” MTA CEO Johann Buttigieg said.

Malta International Airport also reported that the United Kingdom retained its spot as the top driver of passenger traffic as it continues its path of recovery, with over 108,000 passengers departing or arriving from this destination in September, followed by the Italian, German, French and Spanish markets.

A word of thanks must go to our marketing teams at Head Office, and our teams across Europe and the world for being resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with the management, as one big team, and adapting to the ever-changing situation of the pandemic across various countries and regions. We have used the pandemic to reinvent our marketing strategy, investing in digital media campaigns, to make people feel close to the Maltese Islands, even during the strictest of lockdowns. This has paid off, and is paying off, with the encouraging results which we are seeing. I am sure that with regards to the UK market, we will continue to see further improvement, especially with restrictions being eased further in the UK,” MTA Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, Carlo Micallef added.

Article credits: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/327
Pros and Cons to renting a car in Malta

Driving in Malta is seen as challenging at best by a lot of people, not least by the Maltese themselves. This article aims to give you some insight as to what you can expect to find if you choose to hire a car for your holiday.

Let’s start with the pros:

  1. There’s a lot to see and discover within relatively short distances, and although hop on/hop off buses can be a good alternative, you’ll never have as much flexibility as you’d have driving yourself.
  2. Although you’ll have easy access to public transport (a network of bus routes) wherever you stay in Malta, the way that some of the routes are laid out means that trips can take far longer than if you were to drive yourself.
  3. Public transport is reasonably worry-free but often times not too punctual and can make for a hot ride in summer, when air conditioning doesn’t always work.
  4. If you want to see the real Malta, the small quaint and relatively quiet villages and village life, you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone and get away from the tourist hotspots. If you’re a curious traveller, it’ll be worth it.

And now with the cons:

  1. Traffic congestion – during rush hour mostly
  2. Parking – Lots of cars, not enough spaces in busy areas
  3. Hot-headed or ignorant drivers who are looking to cut off 1-2 minutes from their trip time, whatever the cost may be.
  4. Narrow roads in old city centres. Not the type that will cost you a side mirror, but the type with semi-blind corners.
  5. In Malta we drive on the left hand side of the road. So, unless you’re from the UK that will take some getting used to (as well as driving a right-hand drive car).
  6. Rules and signs are sometimes seen as mere suggestions

Still not sure? Here’s some further advice:
If you’re a confident driver with at least a couple of years of solid experience on the road in your home country, you should be able to drive around by car in Malta pretty easily.
If you’ve driven on motorways in Italy, inside city centres like Naples and in different parts of Sicily,  driving in Malta will feel like a breeze. It’s predictable as long as you expect other drivers to misbehave and anticipate them doing so. If you get worked up and stressed out easily behind the wheel, driving in Malta is probably not for you.
If you’re considering renting a car, you’re probably looking to do some exploring. If that’s the case, Sliema, St. Julian’s, Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay shouldn’t be on your list to consider staying at in the first place. However, if you are staying at one of these places, you’ll be making it difficult for yourself when it comes to driving in and out of these areas as well as to find parking (unless facilities are provided by the hotel or place you’re staying at).
If you plan to spend most or all of your time in Gozo, there’s no need to worry in the first place. Although rules are still not obeyed as closely as they might be at home, it’s a lot more peaceful driving around the island. Really and truly, you’d be missing out if you don’t rent a car in Gozo. It’s a great place to explore on four wheels. Or two, if you prefer.

Read the full article here: https://www.maltauncovered.com/malta-car-hire/tips-driving-in-malta/
Malta ranks 4th on Condé Nast Traveller

The 25 best destinations in the world to go on holiday in November, from South Korea’s flourishing capital to the Canadian hinterland, also included Malta in none other than the 4th place.

Iceland ranked 3rd, whilst Sayulita in Mexico and Lisbon in Portugal ranked in 2nd and 1st place respectively.

Read the full article here: https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/best-holiday-destinations-in-november
Let’s travel again… safely!

Malta’s airport is set to partially reopen on 1st July and fully on 15th July, but the travelling experience will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In line with the recommendations of local and international authorities,  the Malta International Airport shall be introducing the necessary measures, invested in new technologies, and re-trained their front-liners to allow you to feel safe and secure every step of the way from check-in to boarding.

Below are a list of efforts taken to safeguard passengers to and from Malta:

1. Masks or visors are obligatory

Masks or visors must be worn at all times inside the terminal, with exceptions made for children under six years old and people with a valid medical condition. The airport recommends that you change your mask every four hours and that you pack enough masks in your hand luggage for your entire trip, including the time spent on the plane and the airport of destination. Refuse containers for the disposal of face masks and gloves will be provided.

2. Rigorous cleaning procedures

Airport staff will clean and disinfect the terminal more frequently and intensively, especially surfaces that are regularly touched such as buttons and handles, while alcohol-based hand sanitisers will also be available at strategic spots. The airport also recommends that you being your own 100ml hand sanitising gel bottle with you, which can also be carried through security.

3. No non-travellers allowed inside

Only travellers will be allowed inside the airport, which means that any goodbyes must be said outside. Exemptions will be made in special circumstances, such as for people who need to drop off or pick up a minor or a person with reduced mobility.

4. New social distancing signage

Signage and floor markings will be installed at check-in, security, departure, arrival and baggage reclaim areas and at outlets and restrooms to ensure passengers keep two metres away from each other. The airport is advising passengers to arrive at least two hours before their flight and has warned that security checks and boarding processes may take longer than usual.

Seating has also been reorganised for the purposes of social distancing, with unavailable seating clearly marked.

5. No smoking allowed

Smokers must take their last cigarette before their flight outside the terminal because smoking has been banned on the terraces. This is in line with health guidelines that forbid smoking outdoors at restaurants and bars on the grounds that people are being encouraged to sit outside where possible and that they therefore shouldn’t be exposed to cigarette smoke.

7. A new airport ‘care team’

A number of airport staff have been assembled and trained to act as a ‘care team’. Wearing easily identifiable light blue vests, their job will be to roam the airport, advise passengers on the new rules and ensure said rules are being observed.

8. Thermal screening cameras and tech to detect large groups

The airport has invested heavily in new technology, with thermal screening cameras intended to detect any passengers having a high temperature, over and above the temperature checks that will be carried out before they enter the airport. Meanwhile, agglomeration detection technology will alert the airport in real-time if passengers gather in large groups. Malta recently removed all limitations on public gatherings and the airport hasn’t yet explained how this new technology will be used.

9. New rules for the La Valette lounge

Members of the VIP La Valette lounge must book their stay here at least 24 hours before their trip so as to allow the airport to ascertain that social distancing requirements can be met. Guests can take off their masks or visors while at the lounge, while buffets have been replaced by waiter service. Newspapers, magazines and iPads will be unavailable to limit passengers’ contact with surfaces.

The airport will partially reopen on 1st July, with flights operating to and from Italy (except Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte), France (except Ile de France), Spain (except Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y Leon in Spain), Poland (except Katowice), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechia, Ireland, and Finland.

Travellers arriving directly from the countries and regions on this list will not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine but will be asked to declare that they had lived in the country of origin for at least four weeks prior to travelling. Guests will also be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, which would enable the health authorities to trace them swiftly should the need arise.

On 15th July, Malta’s airport is set to open to all destinations without restrictions.

How will the new measures affect hotel guests?

As of tomorrow, people can start staying in Malta’s hotels under the new Covid-19 relaxed measures.

Malta is starting to rebuild its tourism industry step by step starting with the reopening of certain establishments. While the airport remains closed and tourism numbers will take long to recover, locals can begin to enjoy the island’s hotels and the amenities it has to offer.

The most interesting and crucial points from the 73-page document can be found hereunder:

1. How will this affect the reception or lobby area?
Receptionists will have to wear either a facemask or a visor and will stand behind a perspex barrier. The lobby will also be equipped with alcohol dispensers and disinfectant wipes which will also be provided for your luggage as you enter.

2. How can the room be paid for?
The document indicates that contactless payment methods will be made available to avoid any unnecessary contact.

3. Can the spa or indoor pool be used?
No indoor spas or pools are to be operated.

4. What about outdoor pools?
You can make use of a hotel’s outdoor pool but you can’t crowd in common areas and you’re only allowed one person per sunbed. Changing rooms will also be disinfected every hour and limited to a maximum of four people at a time.

5. Will room service be available?
Yes, room service will still be provided but with disposable condiments and single-use items. Also, instead of signing, a room service bill will be brought straight to your room.

6. What about hotel restaurants?
The same protocols apply to hotel restaurants as they do other restaurants including the prohibition of buffets.

7. Will elevator use be restricted?
A distance of two meters has to be kept between you and others in an elevator. If that cannot be enforced then only one person can use an elevator at a time.

8. How will check out function?
Guests are required to drop off their room keys at a ‘Central Key Card Deposit Box’ made available in every hotel lobby. Keys will be collected and disinfected for reuse.

Let's go that extra mile!
Colours of Malta Quality Assured