Travel

Anton Buttigieg, CEO at TradeMalta, appealed to local authorities to remove third countries, i.e. countries that are not members of the EU and whose citizens do not enjoy the European Union right to free movement, from Malta’s dark red travel list.

Examples of third countries, as defined by the European Commission, include China, Ukraine, India, Japan, and New Zealand.

Anton Buttigieg
Anton Buttigieg / LinkedIn

“Malta’s decision to keep many third countries on a dark red travel list is a slap in the face to hard working Malta-based exporters,” Mr Buttigieg wrote on social media.

“In these uncertain and challenging times, we should be looking at establishing new friendships and commercial opportunities in emerging markets. Our island economy, which is highly dependent on international trade, decides otherwise,” he continued.

Just last Friday, Malta’s health authorities revealed that the country will be removing most of its COVID-19 restrictions on 2nd May.

The relaxation of said measures means that mask-wearing will no cease to remain obligatory in most circumstances and that travellers arriving in Malta will no longer need to present a passenger locator form.

Nonetheless, the system of red and dark-red countries will remain in place and travellers arriving in Malta from said countries will still need to present a passenger locator form.

Malta’s dark-red list includes nations such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Uganda, and Sudan.

“These isolationist measures put Malta-based exporters at a huge disadvantage vis-à-vis their competitors. Our bilateral relationships will feel the strain. More importantly, our international partners will be watching our actions and judging us accordingly,” Mr Buttigieg added.

“It takes years to build partnerships and friendships. It takes a few seconds to dismantle them,” he concluded.

Mr Buttigieg has been at the helm of executive organisation TradeMalta since its foundation in 2015. Based in Sliema, TradeMalta is a Public Private Partnership between the Malta Government Investments – through Project Malta Ltd, and The Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry.

The organisation’s mission includes guiding businesses to explore various models.

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