Last Updated on Monday, 18 May, 2020 at 3:25 pm by Andre Camilleri
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) commends the efforts being undertaken to date by the Government in addressing the unprecedented impacts on both public health and the economy in Malta caused by the global COVID 19 pandemic. MHRA recognises that over a very short period of time the global economy was brought to an unexpected, sudden halt as thousands of people across the world started to get infected leading also to loss of life due to the COVID 19 spread.
Undoubtedly, during such difficult times MHRA asserts that human life and humanity must prevail above everything and it has been encouraging to see how the Maltese Government adopted prompt measures to contain the pandemic. Remarkably, facts at hand today reveal that the impact of COVID 19 on public health in Malta was much less dramatic than was expected. This however came at a hefty economic price, with probably the transport, travel, tourism, hospitality, sports, entertainment sectors and everything that supports socialising being hit the hardest and are now suffering badly.
MHRA President Tony Zahra assets that, “The tourism sector in Malta has reached ground zero as result of this crises and is now desperate to reopen and face the “new” normality.” MHRA emphasizes that it is important that we keep safeguarding lives but equally important that we need to start working together to protect livelihoods. Our medical authorities need to keep being vigilant and perform their essential and respectful role in our society but we also need to reignite our economy. The economy will not be as we’ve been accustomed to over the past years – it will be a new reality for all, however we cannot keep procrastinating from opening our tourism sector.
Mr Zahra emphasises that, “Every day that passes the economy is sinking further and further into trouble and every day that passes Government is spending circa 11 million euros per day or 330 million euros per month to keep everyone at home, money which the Government is borrowing and has to be repaid from everybody’s taxes in the future. If we don’t open the airport then we shall see mass unemployment as there is no reason for anyone in the tourist industry to hold on to staff if there is no summer. Operators in the tourism industry will let everyone go and rehire in Easter 2021 – provided of course they are still around by that time. This is not a threat, this is not an argument supporting wealth against health or otherwise – this is a fact of life.
Therefore, MHRA appeals to Government that now is time to steer the direction towards reigniting our economy through the tourism sector whilst ensuring reasonable safety measures for staff, employees and residents reflecting the new reality which we all need to adapt to rather than hide from.”