As the 2010s came to an end, Malta’s entertainment industry was riding high after years of growth. International DJs, packed venues and more events than ever was becoming the norm.
For the team behind MedAsia, a popular lifestyle brand with clubs and restaurants in Sliema and Gzira, the time seemed perfect to obtain the license to one of the most popular lifestyle brands in Spain – Bora Bora Ibiza.
They took the plunge, becoming the first international franchisee of the name. They were going to turn one of their St Paul’s Bay hotels into an adult resort, targeting foreigners looking for the Ibiza life while enjoying the Maltese sun.
Then, COVID-19 hit.
If there was any hope that the pandemic might pass after a few months in early 2020 – maybe even in time for the summer – it’s long since fizzled out. Now, in 2021, all organisers can do is try to keep the brand alive while playing with their thumbs, awaiting the government to give the green light.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, a key member behind Bora Bora Ibiza in Malta explained why they wanted see the brand on the island, and why they want to keep hopes alive that it may one day open with the government’s blessing.
“We wanted to offer a resort with no children allowed, aimed at people aged 25 to 40 where they can enjoy a nice cocktail by the pool, pampered in an affordable and attractive way with fruit platters, champagne and good food,” they said.
Bora-Bora Ibiza-Malta is proud to launch the first and only “Lifestyle Resort” in Malta. This four-star, adults-only Resort, situated in the idyllic St Paul’s Bay, is your summer dream come true!One wristband gives you easy access to the entire Resort & MedAsia Playa. Stay tuned & follow us for more news 💫All social distancing measures in place.Be safe! Let’s have a great Summer!#boraboraibizamalta #stayhome #staysafe #malta #summer2021 #malta2021 #summergoals
Posted by Bora Bora Ibiza Malta on Monday, April 5, 2021
“Now, we would be lying if we said we don’t want to open up our resort today – just like any other hotel, like the Westin Hotel or the Hilton Hotel, we want to open. But we obviously cannot as it’s illegal,” they continued.
Bora Bora Ibiza was meant to open for one week, 23rd to 30th June, and would give ticket-holders access to the resort, pool, restaurants over the week.
With the website still up and the date getting closer, concerns were raised whether the organisers still intended to go ahead with the party, similar to what happened recently after people noticed Lost and Found Festival 2021 hadn’t been cancelled yet.
But organisers found the idea that any major company or brand in Malta would organise a party or mass gathering event during this time, when the government’s restrictions are still in place, laughable.
“We don’t dictate when to do parties – we follow the restrictions and guidelines like everyone else.”
Malta’s entertainment industry has been decimated as the island enters a second year of partial-lockdown.
DJs have spoken publicly about the mental health issues they are facing as their revenue stream has all but dried up, and club owners, promoters and so many others involved in the scene have warned of the collapse of an industry that up until two years ago, was firing on all cylinders.
It had even begun to diversify into different sectors as the industry matured.
“Why did we want to offer this franchise locally?” the Bora Bora Ibiza organiser asked. “When we looked longterm, we realised the island didn’t have a lifestyle resort. We managed to bring this incredible franchise to Malta, to be the first in the world, the first lifestyle resort in Malta… but what can you do…”
“At the moment, there are just no parties planned – how can we even plan parties? We work according to restrictions and the law. We’ve been really strict on it too – last year we opened MedAsia Playa after investing so much, with regular MTA checks and inspections… but now, we must wait.”