By the beginning of September, 206,876 vouchers were redeemed in Gozitan outlets and accommodation facilities, an amount which, including its multiplier effect, signifies an economic injection of €5.2 million.
This was announced by Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Silvio Schembri when visiting restaurants in Xlendi, accompanied by Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri.
Minister Schembri said that such success is overwhelming when considering the number of passengers who travelled between Malta and Gozo since the beginning of June till the end of September of this year. In effect, during this period, a total number of 1,600,000 passengers crossed between Malta and Gozo. This amounts to just 300,000 less than the amount of passengers in 2019.
Minister Schembri commented, ‘Such results augur well for the hospitality industry and by extension its related services. These numbers are clear evidence that Gozo remains a popular destination for many Maltese, many of whom have visited the island more than once over the summer. Vouchers were an essential and lifesaving measure which enabled businesses in the tourism sector to stay afloat, continue with their operations and simultaneously generate economic growth.’
Minister Schembri went on to assert that given that 20% of all jobs in Gozo, totaling some 2,000 occupations, pertain to the tourism sector, this initiative was crucial for the survival and wellbeing of several MTA-licensed hotels and other accommodations, which ultimately have been positively impacted by this same initiative.
‘Considering that 67% of all revenue for restaurants and outlets in Gozo was from redeemed vouchers, we can safely say that the restimulating and generation of economic activity for all is due to the direct contribution of the residents of Malta and Gozo,’ said Minister Schembri.
In the case of Gozo, 45% of total salaries were covered by the Covid Wage Supplement which further enabled numerous businesses to continue with their operations. In Malta, redeemed vouchers made up 26% of the revenue for restaurants and outlets, while the Covid Wage Supplement covered 43% of salaries.
‘As is clearly evident, this measure has impacted a wide range of businesses so that the economy is regenerated for everyone: hotels, restaurants, accommodation, shopping and services. The results so far are more than reassuring. Now that the voucher system has been extended till the end of October, I urge everyone to take advantage of this unprecedented measure and contribute to the regeneration of our economy. Together, we managed to ensure the resilience of our businesses and safeguarded as many jobs as possible during this time and have set the wheels in motion for further economic growth,’ concluded Minister Silvio Schembri.
Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri said that this Government’s commitment in assisting Maltese and Gozitan businesses and families has been constant and continuous. He stated that during such a challenging time the Government was at the forefront, striving to prevent job losses and managing to create an opportunity out of a setback.
He spoke about how Gozo was the natural choice for the Maltese this summer and explained how, ‘we continued to motivate this choice by reducing fares by half in July so that Gozo could be the holiday destination of choice not only on weekends, but throughout week.’
Minister Camilleri said that the successful voucher system not only helped families save money but served as a lifeline for Maltese and Gozitan businesses, as well as safeguarding a number of jobs in the tourism and business sector. He concluded by saying that we will now look forward to continuing to attract people to Gozo in the coming months and persevere in the generating of more domestic tourism.
Joe Muscat, CEO of the Gozo Tourism Association, said that the government vouchers scheme was yet another measure which alleviated and mitigated Covid-19’s negative impact on several touristic segments.
In fact, the aforementioned establishments reported that the vouchers were an incentive that enticed more clientele to their respective establishments during these trying times brought about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both the voucher scheme, as well as the other government measures extended to the tourism sector, were the main reasons that employee redundancies were very low and that tourism establishments managed to continue with their respective operations even in these unprecedented times created by the Covid-19 pandemic.