MIA CEO Alan Borg says reviving air travel requires consumer confidence and suggests an app where visitors could upload COVID-related documents prior to entry into Malta
Tourists coming to Malta should be able to upload COVID-related documents in an app for verification by the authorities, the airport CEO has suggested.
This would contribute to boosting consumer confidence in air travel, still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg said.
He commended the immunisation drive against COVID-19, insisting this is Malta’s strongest selling point with airlines and travellers.
Borg was commenting in the wake of figures released by the company, showing that passenger traffic through MIA totalled 32,033 movements last March. This represents a 93% drop compared to the same month in 2019.
These result, reflect the hurdles, including low consumer confidence, still being faced by the aviation industry a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Borg said the rapid vaccination roll-out and government’s plan for the restart of tourism on 1 June bode well for the second half of the year.
However, he cautioned that the revival of air travel is also highly dependent on the restoration of consumer confidence in the industry in the build-up to summer.
“The fact that Malta is one of the European leaders in immunising its population is currently our strongest selling point with airlines and travellers looking for a safe destination this summer. Whilst commending the local health authority’s work with the vaccination roll-out, I would also like to stress the importance of technology at this critical point in our preparations for the safe restart of tourism,” Borg said.
He suggested the creation of a Malta app that would allow passengers to upload all necessary documents, including the passenger locator form, health declaration form, and COVID-19 test result or vaccine certificate, for verification by the authorities prior to their entry in Malta.
“This would give incoming passengers a heightened sense of safety and security and allow for a more seamless travel experience, whilst contributing to the restoration of consumer confidence,” he said.
On Wednesday, government unveiled its plan to start relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in a gradual manner. The target date for restarting the tourism industry is 1 June but no date has been set yet for the reopening of restaurants and bars.
Meanwhile, Malta’s coronavirus vaccination programme continues to progress at a rapid pace with projections showing that by 7 June all the adult population could be expected to have received at least its first jab.
The projected vaccination target is based on the currently available three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – but may be brought forward when Malta starts receiving the single-jab Janssen vaccine from mid-April.
The Malta Tourism Authority recently unveiled a €20 million plan to attract tourists in a bid to restart the industry for the summer.