During the television programme, ‘Magħkom’, Chamber’s Tourism Business Section member James Perry spoke about the current situation in the English Language teaching schools in Malta and how the pandemic had affected the industry.
Speaking to presenter Lea Hogg, James Perry noted how the industry was one of the first to be hit by the pandemic, with the first cancellations being registered in February when Italy closed off education travel. This led to 20,000 student cancellations, which started to sound alarm bells across the sector.
“This required immediate action” Mr Perry, who is also CEO of FELTOM, the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta, noted.
The organisation in fact established a partnership with Deloitte, in order to better understand what the industry required in order to formulate and put in place a recovery plan.
This recovery plan aims at maintaining staff, supporting schools and create incentives for students who would like to study in Malta.
“The main concept is that we keep ourselves safe, while keeping the active cases of COVID-19 within acceptable limits, which will entice students to start choosing Malta again for their studies” said Mr Perry.
Safeguarding this industry is incredibly important since Malta attracts around 83,000 to 87,000 foreign students each year. This leads to a cumulative student expenditure of around Eur145 million which is a considerable amount considering that this is a niche market. As opposed to other tourism markets, this industry attracts tourists who usually do not travel to Malta such as Brazilians and Columbians. As a member of the board of the Tourism Business Section Executive Committee and the Education thematic committee Mr Perry commended the work of The Malta Chamber in this field. He said “The Malta Chamber has a very strong Tourism Business Unit which represents a vast array of experts from different sectors such as ELT schools, tour operators, tour agents, and transport operators that lobby on several issues.”
Mr Perry was also joined by Mr Alan Marsh who also spoke during the programme.