Couples will form the focus of a new month-long trade initiative from the Malta Tourism Authority to help drive bookings this summer, despite missing out on being included in the UK government’s green list.
The Malta Tourism Authority is due to conduct agent training, a webinar in association with Travel Weekly and another with airline partner Air Malta, and release a series of videos featuring tour guides on the island to highlight the experiences available for couples.
There will also be a prize draw for an agent to win a holiday for two to Malta to experience the destination for themselves.
Trade trainer Peter Green said: “Last month, our focus was the over-50s market and now it seems the natural progression is on to the couples’ market. This is not necessarily heterosexual couples, this is also the LGBT community because we are a massive destination for that demographic, and includes pairs of friends travelling together.
“We see these are going to be the markets that aren’t constricted by massive PCR test costs and they perhaps also have the flexibility to work from home to enable them not to worry about quarantining when they’re back from their holiday.”
He added: “We are all disappointed with the statement last week surrounding Malta not being put on the green list. I think it did hit a lot of us as many were expecting it to be that way given our superb vaccination rollout. However during the next review in three weeks’ time, we are quietly optimistic that that will change.”
An easing of lockdown in Malta has seen restaurants reopen this week with restricted opening hours, and the restart of non-contact sports. Green added that 60% of the population on the islands had now received at least one vaccination against Covid-19, with around a quarter having received both doses.
Trade marketing manager Natalie Swinburne said: “In 2019, the Maltese Islands saw 650,000 arrivals from the UK, of which 63% travelled with their partner. The archipelago offers the perfect experience for couples, and travel agents play an integral part in sharing this with their customers and our potential visitors.
“Malta has also ranked first place on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index since 2016 and we look forward to welcoming LGBT+ couples back to our picturesque shores this summer.”