The Maltese airline, Air Malta, saw 15,000 reservations canceled during the month of July, following new government travel restrictions imposed earlier in July.
Last month, Malta opened its borders to fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers, but saw an increase in coronavirus infections the following month, TheSchengen.com reports.
On July 9, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fern introduced the new rules that came into effect on July 14, under which only people with an EU-recognised coronavirus certificate are allowed to enter Malta. If this document is not presented, the traveler must be quarantined for 14 days.
According to the official website, the certificates of vaccination recognized in Malta are as the following list indicates:
Official Maltese Vaccination Certificate The EU COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificate issued by the EU, EEA and Non-EU Countries connected to the EUDCC portal and NHS Certificate (paper or digital) UK for Coronavirus (COVID-19) United Arab Emirates Vaccine Certificate issued by Dubai Health Authorities Turkish Vaccine Certificate for Full Cycle of Vaccination US Immunization Record Card CDC COVID-19 Green Digital Serbian Certificate with Readable QR Code Vaccination Certificate Gibraltar Jersey Guernsey
Furthermore, Air Malta said booking directions have changed since the restrictions were introduced. The change wasn’t apparent until after the new rules were introduced but it has continued to affect travel trends even now, almost two weeks later.
“More than 15,000 pre-booked seats for travel during the month of July were canceled. This, unfortunately, is a trend across all 19 markets it operates. Reservation activity from the local Maltese market has not previously started and is currently showing no sign of doing so. The airline noted, too.
The airline said the cancellation of reservations in August is not as clear as in July, when only 3,000 seats were canceled. However, the airline has expressed concerns about the booking numbers, saying the booking trend has stalled and no progress has been observed.
Air Malta also reported an increase in the number of passengers not showing up for their flights.
“No offers have seen a significant increase, and they are now operating daily at 30-35 per cent for domestic travel to Malta,” the airline added.
The country successfully contacted the EUDCC portal in July in an effort to promote and provide safe travel amid epidemics, as well as to revive the tourism sector.
According to EUROSTAT, the European statistics provider, Malta was the country hardest hit by the pandemic with an 80 per cent drop in overnight stays, followed by Spain with a 78 per cent drop. However, tourism has been kept alive during this period by local guests, who recorded a 20 percent increase in overnight stays.
The country has not reported any deaths related to the coronavirus but has confirmed 166 cases of infection, the World Health Organization data for the last 24 hours shows. Malta has seen 420 deaths and 33,198 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.