tourism

The Federated Association of Travel & Tourism Agents (FATTA) has issued a warning that another weak summer would be disastrous for a sector on its knees, calling on authorities to ‘indiscriminately and scrupulously’ enforce the measures and directives in force.

In a statement released on Thursday, the association representing the majority of travel and tourism incoming and outgoing operators, echoed the increasingly strong calls for more discipline by business operators and the general public and for more effective enforcement by the authorities.

It said that, while it has full confidence that mandatory measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 are carefully thought out to strike the right balance between lives and livelihoods, it also insists that “they must be rigorously observed by one and all and enforced indiscriminately and scrupulously by the authorities at all times.

“Whilst the increase of penalties may serve as an additional deterrent, this would be a pointless exercise if enforcement continues to be weak.”

FATTA said that the lack of discipline and enforcement is resulting in an “increased and blatant disregard of the regulations” which could be fuelling the current spike in infections.

“This is seriously damaging the prospects for the tourism industry for the coming summer season. This could also impact short term airline connectivity as demand remains soft and therefore also reduce the opportunity for locals to travel abroad this summer.”

FATTA also expressed its support for the note to the European Commission co-signed by the Minister for Tourism & Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo and his counterparts from Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia and Spain.

In their note, the Ministers emphasised the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 crisis continues to have on their respective economies and societies, and in particular on the tourism ecosystem and international mobility.

FATTA said that the Ministers also stressed “the importance of returning to cross-border mobility for the restart of tourism, for the survival and recovery of its mainly small and medium-sized enterprises providing millions of jobs, and for reinvigorating regional value chains.”

“They urge the Commission to accelerate the development of a digital health information tool (e.g. “health passport”) to facilitate safe travel and therefore to provide an important boost to support the relaunch of safe travelling.”

Finally, FATTA stressed that “another weak summer season would deal another harsh blow to an already weakened industry and will result in significantly more job losses, business failures and economic hardship which will definitely filter deeply into the local value chain.”

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