Maltese Nationalist Party’s 10-year tourism recovery plan includes VAT reductions, tax rebates and cash grants for various sectors and operators in the tourism industry.
A reduction in VAT to 7% for bars and restaurants – as in the case of accommodation – as well as for any operators providing tourist services or supplying a service to the industry, are amongst proposals put forward by the Nationalist Party for the tourism industry.
A working document launched today lists more than 100 proposals and cover a 10-year period: two years of recovery and eight years to enjoy pre-COVID-19 levels of profit and success.
The PN is proposing giving airlines €10 per seat filled in summer, and €20 for winter, based on a three-year agreement that would include a minimum of two weekly flights.
The PN’s proposals include a one-time grant of up to €25,000 for tourist operators who promote Malta abroad. Any advertising targeting niche markets should be prioritised and encouraged.
With COVID-19 an ongoing concern, the party believes Malta should set up two testing centres in Malta and one in Gozo, to cater to incoming tourists.
The PN is also recommending Malta examine the possibility of linking to new airports, as well as making it more attractive for tourists to reach Malta by coach, camper or car. Air Malta should remain the major player in any tourism strategy for Malta, the PN’s document says.
Accommodation and Catering
It is also proposing that operators in the tourist industry be given the opportunity to pay their taxes for 2021 and 2022 over five years up to 2027.
Tax credits should also be given to property owners who renounce the rent payments in the same time frame in the case of renters working in the tourism industry.
Some buildings in a number of localities should be refurbished and rebranded as hostels, while maintaining their historical characteristics and offering tourists the chance to ‘live like a local’.
The PN’s document also includes a proposal for the introduction of a regulation and classification system for rental farmhouses and villas, in order to establish clear standards.
The PN believes property owners should be encouraged to put up more farmhouses and villas short holiday rent, as these attract higher-spending tourists and families.
And more camping spaces should be made available, but it would be imperative that these be well-maintained and equipped with all services and amenities.
Infrastructure and transport
The PN’s working document includes plans for the setting up of a Tourism Development Board, to include all interested parties, and to provide direction to all operators in the tourism industry.
The party also proposed making an app available for tourists to easily access information about available attractions such as trekking and hiking paths and recommended areas to visit.
The PN believes that, by 2025, any tourist rental vehicles available in Malta should be electric.
Furthermore, incentives should be drawn up covering registration tax, VAT and road licensing.
The PN is proposing the suspension of vehicle license payments for 18 months in the case of coaches, open-top buses, taxis and boats.
The use of electric vehicles should also be incentivised.
To attract the next generations to the hospitality industry, the PN is recommending that this industry start being included in the national curriculum, with instruction offered at all levels, including ITS, MCAST, the university and private schools.
The party is also recommending that all operators in the tourism industry be formally licensed, after the successful completion of a 40-hour training programme.
English language schools be formally licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority, the PN believes. Its documents includes a proposal for foreign students attending such schools to receive a grant of €50 a week for up to €600.
The PN’s document calls for the creation and use of a ‘Made in Malta DOK’ label to promote Maltese food and beverages.
The PN is recommending the development of high-quality shopping and entertainment complexes, particularly Paceville, St Paul’s Bay and Bugibba.
The document also proposed the introduction of a co-ordinated transport system between the airport in Luqa and Gozo. Hybrid vessels should also replace the existing ferries operating between Malta and Gozo
Proposals include the organisation of an International Food Festival, inviting world-renowned chefs to join local chefs working with Maltese food and to use Maltese produce in their own shows.