New Delhi (NVI): In order to revive its tourism industry, Malta plans to offer foreign visitors a handout of up to €200 euros ($238.10) if they stay at least three days on the Mediterranean island this summer.
Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo announced the scheme on Friday, saying that with most Covid restrictions expected to be lifted by June 1, tourists booking summer holidays directly through local hotels would receive the handout.
Furthermore, Bartolo said that tourists booking accommodation at a five-star hotel will get €100 from Malta’s Tourism Authority, which will be matched by the hotel for a total of €200.
In a similar arrangement, those opting for a four-star hotel will receive a total of €150 and those booking a three-star hotel will receive €100 euros.
Tourism accounts for more than 27 percent of Malta’s economy, but the sector has been hammered by the pandemic.
The country attracted more than 2.7 million foreign visitors in 2019 but figures have fallen by more than 80 percent since the virus was detected in March 2020.
Malta has the highest virus vaccination rate in the European Union, having given at least one dose to 42 percent of adults.
With this, the country has seen a sharp drop in new Covid-19 cases, with the positivity rate – the percentage of tests that show a positive result – down to 2.6 percent, and the government has been urging the EU to introduce vaccine passports to facilitate travel.