Malta airport to reopen in July and Irish tourists are invited to visit the island


Ireland is among the 19 countries whose citizens can visit Malta when its airport reopens on July 1st, writes Clodagh Dooley

Crystal blue waters, golden sands, ancient architecture, and mouthwatering Maltese cuisine. The allure of the island of Malta is obvious and many Irish people seem to think so too. 

More than 41,000 Irish tourists travelled to Malta in 2018 and our editor-in-chief, Kevin Flanagan, has been a regular visitor since 2003 and says, “It’s a fabulous destination for Irish holidaymakers. You drive on the same side of the road, English is spoken by everyone and the Euro is the currency. I particularly love Malta’s sister island Gozo and compare it to Dingle for beauty and fun – only with sun all  year round! I can’t wait to get back.” 

I definitely feel inspired to visit and see for myself!

So it was wonderful to hear the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) announce the reopening of the airport, and the resumption of commercial flights to and from Malta, from July 1st, 2020. And Ireland is one of the 19 destinations whose citizens are allowed to travel to Malta when flights resume. 

Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli says that this decision reaffirms previous statements, declaring that Malta is going to have a summer. The Minister added that “the lifting of these measures was carefully studied in the past weeks with the health authorities and will give our people confidence while further sustaining our economy and tourism”.

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Along with Ireland, other destinations granted permission to visit Malta are Germany, Austria, Sicily, Cyprus, Switzerland, Sardegna, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic. More destinations will be announced in due course, once clearance from the health authorities is received.

MTA Chairman, Dr Gavin Gulia says, “Over the past two-and-a-half months, the travel and hospitality industry across the globe has faced an unprecedented challenge. Members of the travel trade, from airlines to tour operators and travel agents, as well as hoteliers and restaurateurs, and the many others who earn a living directly or indirectly from tourism, had to endure the impact of an international travel ban.

“Now that the situation is improving in many countries, and we can finally reopen our borders, we look forward with cautious optimism to the weeks and months ahead. Whilst taking all necessary safety precautions, we can proceed to this important next phase with confidence.”

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MTA Chief Executive Johann Buttigieg welcomes the announcement that Malta International Airport – Malta’s primary gateway to the world – is reopening with enthusiasm. “The airport is of fundamental importance to all of us in the tourism sector. The difficulties we have managed to overcome together in the past weeks are a testament to the resilience of the industry. New challenges lie ahead, but with them come new opportunities. 

“MTA believes that Malta has all it takes to rebuild a profitable industry that provides a livelihood for thousands and is so important to the Maltese economy.”

Back in April, MTA launched a campaign called ‘Dream Malta Now…Visit Later’, with the aim of reminding potential visitors about the beauty that awaits them in Malta once it becomes possible for people to start travelling again.

Carlo Micallef, MTA Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, says “With the opening of our airport, we can now start to inform our overseas partners and customers, that the time to simply dream is over, and the actual visiting can begin once again. It will not happen all at once, and not from everywhere from day one. But it is an important first step, one that the industry and the public have been eagerly waiting for.”

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Malta’s excellent performance with regard to the control of the coronavirus within its territory has been acknowledged by the European Commission, the Commonwealth, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, and others. Various articles and reports in influential publications have included Malta amongst the safest countries to visit in a post-Covid scenario.

Could Malta be on the cards before the year is out? I sure do hope so!

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