A leading Maltese chef has raised concerns over a €750,000 project aimed at specifically boosting Valletta’s stores and establishment… as establishments around the rest of Malta and Gozo are “forgotten”.
“Many restaurants around the island are feeling very let down that authorities are only focusing on restarting Valletta and forgetting the other villages. Free ferry rides to Valletta, events being organized… and more will follow,” chef Malcolm Bartolo of Townhouse No.3 said.
Malta’s restaurants and establishments have slowly reopened over the last few weeks.
Many, if not all, had to invest in new equipment, sanitisers and cleansing protocols, as well as pass an MTA inspection to be allowed to reopen.
However, after all that effort, many restaurants are feeling ignored by the Malta Tourism Authority, which urged them to reopen as soon as they could do so in an effort to kickstart Malta’s economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I understand that Jason Micallef is focused on kickstarting Valletta as the Valletta Cultural Agency chairman, but he is not MTA where we all pay our licences (apart from this year). We all pay the same bills, licences and taxes. Who is paying for the initiatives being taken to facilitate the business in Valletta?” he asked.
In the Rabat chef’s view, MTA should be doing “a little bit more” to help promote villages in the inner parts of the island.
“This is a time where business has to be distributed as evenly as possible,” Bartolo said.
“Food outlets inland have lost the best time of the year: spring,” he continued. “A good chunk of the restaurants along the shoreline have already started working pretty well which is normal for the time of the year. But when you have just lost your best three months and going into the gloomier period of the year, these things don’t look right at all.”
He said the news that new measures were being rolled out to boost Valletta’s establishments specifically left him “gobsmacked and thinking ‘what did we do wrong to get left out again after the mega-boost Valletta got less than two years ago’.”
“After all, taxes, licenses and bills are the same…”
Chef Bartolo said he expected to see an “even and fair way of promoting villages around the island, with no cooler place than another”.
“We all know that there is one hell of a big chance that come Autumn, we will be in trouble again which is the time when work starts picking up again in villages… including Valletta… ” he ended.