With travel ground to a standstill, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli has written a letter to workers in the industry, urging them to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Her letter was accompanied with a video showing the current state of Malta, with usual tourist hubs like the airport, Paceville and Valletta practically empty, before morphing to scenes of packed beaches, concerts and festivals as a message of hope for the future.
“We will once again welcome tourists with the warmth that we are known for,” the video goes. “We thank the thousands of workers in the tourism industry. We are a strong nation we have triumphed against the greatest hardships throughout history and we will triumph against this.”
This is Julia Farrugia Portelli’s letter in full:
As I pen this note, the ever-bustling Republic Street in Valletta is still at a standstill,. Just a few minutes ago, walking on foot to office after another Cabinet session was a humbling but daunting experience.
Cafeterias, restaurant, shops and most hotels are shut. If the Covid-19 pandemic has hit all the nations of the world hard, it has hit our country even harder. An island, which depends significantly on the outside world for its economic and financial survival.
We are living in trying times. However, as much as the situation is difficult, there is light – there is hope.
As Tourism Minister, I want to reassure you that there is a committed team working hands on to help us get on track soonest. My first concern was, is and will remain the stakeholders in the industry, employers and employees. We have listened.
Day and night, we have pushed in preparing an economic and financial aid package, which saved jobs, and the multi-billion investments that both the government and it stakeholders have forked out to create thousands of jobs.
Our first goal has been reached. We used our precious breathing space to plan ahead and build new strategies.
The government, the Ministry for Tourism, the Malta Tourism Authority, the ITS, the Public Cleansing Directorate and all our entities are hands on deck. We are all working endlessly to turn the tables around sooner than ever. We have shifted our upcoming marketing campaigns abroad to relevant strategies reflecting the situation we’re in. We’re ready to pounce back once Covid-19 fades away.
We are a resilient nation and throughout our history, we emerged triumphant even when we were forced to face fearful odds. We have the will, the energy and the heart to defeat a negative episode that has reached us all. We will emerge from this storm and resume on the road of steam growth. My thoughts and my heart are always with you.
These times will pass. There is not only hope but also great ambition to win this. We will rise stronger together. Together we will see the sun come shining through again. I thank you and the thousands of workers in the tourism sector.