The Tourism Executive Committee of The Malta Chamber is pleased to note Government’s continuous commitment to invest in the Tourism industry by creating initiatives aimed at boosting the industry. Having said this, the Committee cannot help but be disappointed at the fact that only one segment within the tourism industry is being facilitated. The Free Independent Travellers (FIT) scheme is a product that is nevertheless flawed by design, as it requires participating hotels to pay half the amount.
During these challenging and difficult times, hotels cannot be hampered by further financial burdens and some cannot afford to opt out of the scheme for fear of losing their competitive advantage. Agents and Tour Operators processing such bookings have been left out of this initiative, further exacerbating their dire predicament.
The Committee further requests Government to undergo proper planning when issuing such schemes to avoid potential loopholes, as tourists can abuse the scheme by switching hotels after their allocated nights are up and profit from more than one subsidy, which goes against the spirit of the scheme.
Furthermore, the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) needs to ensure it is on top of all marketing ventures, as abroad, the scheme is being promoted incorrectly and this could dissatisfy tourists. One of the beliefs of The Malta Chamber is that the touristic experience begins the moment an individual becomes interested in coming to the island and we must, therefore, ensure their experience is a positive one from beginning to end.
The Tourism Executive Committee encourages Government and the relevant authorities to design a structured thought-out plan in order to boost the tourism industry in its entirety. The MICE scheme is testament to this as the scheme benefited from stakeholder insight in the planning process. Other segments and niches, such as the ELT Industry and the diving industry have received little help and this situation needs to be rectified.
The Committee insists that a holistic vision that benefits every segment in the tourism industry is long due.