Blog post by Marica Micallef
We have heard the local authorities boasting of opening up for tourism and that they cannot wait to put Malta back on its feet with the influx of tourists.
However, this does not seem to be true. Various local news portals, including The Times of Malta, has reported that 369 passengers were sent to quarantine in a hotel. The news portal reported that these passengers “have been sent to a government-approved ‘quarantine hotel’ upon their arrival in Malta, according to the health ministry.” Quarantine hotel? How come the Superintendent of Public Health approved the Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort in St George’s Bay, from all hotels, to act as a place of quarantine? Was there any expression of interest to guarantee a good selection process?
These passengers were sent to quarantine because they failed to present the necessary covid documentation, which are, either a negative PCR test from not more than 72 hours before their arrival in Malta, or a vaccine certificate. Times of Malta further reported that these “passengers arriving in Malta without the necessary coronavirus documentation have been forced to pay €120 for a PCR test and €100 for every night spent in Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort in St George’s Bay and “if a COVID-19 test is positive, those in quarantine must pay for the entire stay until they are virus-free! The accommodation fee does not include food and drinks or other services and tourists staying there are not allowed to leave their room during their quarantine period.”
What kind of marketing is this for the Maltese islands? Won’t this cost these tourists dearly, and most probably above their initial budget? And if their stay was meant to be for a few days, how will it affect everything else on their schedule, including their flight back home? What will be the effect on their expenditure? Isn’t in this case, all the money going to one chosen hotel?
Also, if one of these passengers is found positive, will they keep the others, found negative, quarantined too, like they used to do in the start of the pandemic with family members, colleagues and the like?
How will these tourists feel enclosed in the rooms all day? Is this the way how tourists should be spending their holiday in Malta? Do not the authorities consider that this measure will be creating a bad name for Malta, spreading the word that it is better to visit another country than Malta? Will this attitude generate tourism or will harm it?