Malta’s addition to the UK’s safe travel list was a welcome announcement for the island’s tourism sector – though the sheer volume of requests from foreigners wanting to travel to the island has surprised local business owners.
“We were up till 2am in the morning working through all the inquiries that suddenly appeared in our inbox,” one business-owner who rents out a high-end villa located in the picturesque Santa Maria Estate in Mellieħa told Lovin Malta.
Focused mainly on hosting families and large groups, his property has been open for rentals for over a year now, but bookings had severely dropped. He – and many others in the sector – rely heavily on tourists, especially Brits, to fill in the bookings, with Maltese people typically not going for his type of property.
“It had slowed down quite a lot… we had some inquiries, but we rely on the British mainly, and we’ve been banking on (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson opening up for a while now, especially up here in Mellieha.”
The news that British tourists were allowed to travel to the island was “good news”. However, a lot of work has to be done in a short time frame with July just days away.
“Within hours of the green list announcement, we received an irrefutable offer for this very weekend from a British family,” he said. “We’ve had to quickly sort out the pool area, clean the entire place up… they’ll be here within days.”
When it comes to the inquiries they are getting, it’s mainly people asking about “availabilities and prices”. However, there is still some confusion as to what the health procedures may be like when they arrive on the island.
“Some tourists aren’t really sure what the local process is, with some cancelling because they just didn’t want to deal with coming here and having that kind of hassle,” he said.
“But overall, it’s great though, it seems like we are finally getting back to normal, we haven’t rented out apartments in about a year or so, save some here and there…”
And it’s not just accommodation on the island that’s felt the difference – Brits were booking flights to Malta by the thousands on Thursday as news of the updated green list spread, with July looking to be a busy month for airlines coming to Malta from the UK.
You can find the travel requirements for people visiting Malta from the UK below:
As from 30th June, fully vaccinated people can travel to Malta from the UK. Currently, only the Maltese vaccination certificate is a valid certificate accepted by the Maltese Authorities.
As from the 1st July, the UK (2 dose certificate) and the EU digital COVID certificate will be accepted as well.
Children aged five to 11 can travel if they accompany their vaccinated parents/ legal guardian provided they provide a negative nasopharyngeal PCR test carried out within 72 hours from arrival in Malta. Children under five do not need a test.
A Maltese resident or citizen not in possession of an accepted vaccine certificate can proceed to Malta only after seeking pre-authorisation from [email protected], who would request a pre-departure PCR, 14 days quarantine and PCRs during the period of quarantine.
Cover photo main: Negative Space
Has your sector been affected by the green list update?