Malta’s largest business lobby group has warned the country won’t return to its pre-pandemic economic situation anytime soon, despite the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
“It’s a good thing that vaccines are being rolled out but we’ll still feel the economic effects of the pandemic two years after achieving herd immunity,” Chamber of Commerce president David Xuereb said on TVAM this morning.
“The vaccine isn’t a reset button we can press to return to where we were in 2019 and we still need to discover the effect of the pandemic on cash flow, profits, consumer confidence and international demand.”
“The feeling is that while the vaccine is a positive development, it will take a while to return to a semblance of where we were last year.”
Prime Minister Robert Abela has struck an optimistic tone about Malta’s short-term economic prospects, predicting that the economy will start seriously recovering in March and that it will be ‘business as usual’ by May.
However, Xuereb warned it won’t be so fast, arguing that tourism won’t reach 2019 figures this year and that the government should focus its efforts on designing a new economic model.
“We started off the pandemic from a very good economic position but we realised how dependent we are on tourism, which should make us think about attracting a more intelligent type of tourism based on quality and on attracting more sectors to have more economic equity.”
“If we think we’ll return, cut and paste, to where we were in 2019 it will be a mistake.”
What do you make of David Xuereb’s prediction?