Scuba Diving Tourists to Malta Can Apply for €100 Travel Incentive
Tourists who visit Malta this year for scuba diving activities will be given a €100 gift voucher towards the cost of their diving, as part of an initiative to promote tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vouchers are the first in a two-part scheme to regenerate tourism to the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino, which are heavily dependent on overseas visitors for income. A €750,000 budget has been prepared for the scuba diving voucher scheme, which the first 7,500 eligible tourists can apply for through the Malta Tourism Authority's website.
There are no restrictions as to which country the divers will be travelling from, however, the gift must be redeemed in 2021 and must be used at an approved list of scuba diving operators.
Announcing the initiative, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said that the scheme would generate an extra €12 million in related tourist activity, some €3 million of which would be spent in Gozo. A second scheme will see organisers of sporting events in Malta receive €100 for every overseas participant arriving in the country.
The voucher programme will commence on 1 June – the same day that Malta had previously announced that British tourists who had been fully vaccinated would be allowed to travel to Malta without needing to quarantine. On Friday 7 November, however, British Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Schapps, announced a 'green list' of countries to which UK residents could travel that did not include Malta - despite Malta's vaccination programme being ahead of the UK's.
In an interview with the Times of Malta, Bartolo said that discussions with the UK as to whether or not travel would resume this summer were 'ongoing and at an advanced stage,' adding that 'technical issues largely surround the implementation and recognition of vaccine certificates,' but that Maltese residents can 'expect to be travelling to the UK again from June 1.'
Gozo's Tourism Association (GTA) welcomed the announcement of the voucher scheme, as almost 20 per cent of 'foreign overnight stays' in Gozo are a product of scuba diving tourism.
'[We believe] that the diving scheme will prove beneficial for the 15 diving centres in Gozo. Diving was one of the worst-hit segments,' the GTA announced in a statement. 'GTA is confident that these measures will stimulate operations in the diving and sports sectors while motivating divers and sports enthusiasts to choose the Maltese islands to practice their respective discipline this coming season.'