Students are eligible for the scheme if they spend at least 15 nights in Malta to learn English at language schools. The amount will be capped at €300 per student.
“Tourism is the lungs of the Maltese economy”
The scheme will be open from June 1, with vouchers being given out upon the students’ arrival. These vouchers can be used in shops that are taking part in the government scheme.
“Tourism is the lungs of the Maltese economy… we have been trying to see how we are going to recover in this sector from the very start, and with the incentives we are introducing weekly, we are trying not to leave anyone out,” Bartolo said.
Caroline Tissot, designate CEO of Feltom, told The PIE News that initial indications show that the scheme has generated a lot of interest from prospective students.
“Amongst other options, students may use the vouchers for any services offered by their chosen schools including, for example, to upgrade their course,” she said.
“The government is working very hard to try to sustain all industries especially the ones that have been deeply affected by the pandemic.
“The channels of communication are open and regular meetings are being held between entities concerned and government to ensure that the respective requirements and needs are understood, and measures implemented to assist accordingly,” she added.
“Since the local onset of the pandemic, business nearly ground to a halt”
Tissot explained that schools have been struggling to keep their businesses afloat since the pandemic hit in 2020.
“Since the local onset of the pandemic, business nearly ground to a halt with close to no revenue over the last months, while schools’ outgoings remained the same, with most having to dig deep into their reserves,” she said.
Tissot said that the announcement that schools may reopen to face-to-face teaching coupled with the incentive scheme, and an “extremely successful vaccination program” are all contributing factors to the current increase in the number of bookings and enquiries.
“However, this does not take anything away from the huge impact the closures have had on schools which are still in need of support and discussions are currently underway to identify long term incentives that will assist the schools,” she added.
Andrew Mangion executive chairman and CEO of EC English praised the initiative.
“It not only gives students certain benefits, but it allows schools in Malta to get to the market with positive news, which is what we have all been lacking for over a year. We still need to test the agility of the admin work behind it, but the concept is very positive,” he said.
Mangion said that his organisation has been noticing a growing interest and demand for Malta versus other destinations for a few months.
“And with extended restrictions in Australia, Ireland or Toronto, eyes turn to Malta as a preferred alternative for both adults and juniors.
“In addition, Malta’s amazing vaccination drive which is almost at a par with the best in the world and now open to everyone over 18 years of age makes it a much more attractive destination,” he added.