The last quarter of 2021 will be crucial for the Tourism sector, as Bank of Valletta promises to keep supporting the industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic persistence.
Speaking during the Quarterly MHRA Reports Episode, Bank of Valletta Chief Business Banking Officer, Albert Frendo, explained that 85% of moratoria granted by the Bank have now expired, meaning that most businesses who applied for a moratorium with the Bank are now back on track with their committed repayments.
However, and as expected, the tourism industry is the worst hit through the consequences and lack of travelling. In fact, the remaining 15% of moratoria are those related to businesses operating in tourism and hospitality.
Frendo stated that Bank of Valletta will continue to provide financial aid to this sector whilst fulfilling its role as a backbone to the Maltese economy. He also appealed to the local authorities to define a clear short-term and long-term strategy for the tourism industry as the country is slowly moving out of the pandemic fatigue.
On the same wavelength, Raphael Aloisio, Financial Advisory Leader and Director at Deloitte Malta, stressed on the importance of the tourism sector to the Maltese Economy whilst assuring that tourism was, and will remain one of the strongest sectors. It’s only a matter of when the industry will return to pre-pandemic figures and statistics.
Summer 2021 has seen an increase in the sentiment and confidence amongst potential travelers in the largest European countries. Following the darkest periods of COVID-19, French, Italians and Spaniards are the most likely who will return to travel across Europe sooner than any other, whilst the Dutch are the most likely to spend their stays in a hotel rather than in any other accommodation.
With these encouraging facts, the tourism industry is gearing out to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In his conclusion, the BOV Chief Business Banking Officer noted the resilience of hoteliers and commended their will to invest. Instead of throwing in the towel during the lockdown period, most entrepreneurs in the hotel & restaurant industry took the plunge to modernize and upgrade their facilities, making them ready and even more competitive once they opened back to foreign and local holiday makers.