1025 GMT April 10, 2021
Clayton Bartolo said the outlook for 2021 was hopeful, based on vaccine roll-out efforts being carried out across the globe, timesofmalta.com reported.
But he said the island would be in a competition with other countries relaxing their borders for tourism once again so would "need to increase the number of visitors as soon as possible".
“Throughout 2021, we are prepared to lead the way in the global race to attract tourists back to our shores,” he added.
When asked about Malta’s strategy to entice visitors back to the island, Bartolo said that his ministry is working on both short-term and long-term plans.
“We want to offer tourists the kind of experience that people can enjoy and want to return to, from the moment they set foot on the island to the moment they leave,” he stated.
”Our main goal is to start increasing visitor numbers as soon as possible. We also want to focus on attracting quality tourists to our country who can spend money and boost our economy,” Bartolo added.
Predictably, the tourism sector was one of the worst hit industries since the start of the pandemic in March of this year.
Between July and September 2020, outbound tourism registered a 75 percent drop when compared to the same months in 2019.
Arrivals in October saw an even more drastic decrease, down by 83.7 percent when compared to October of last year.
The number of guests staying at hotels in Malta in the third quarter of this year dwindled by 56.7 percent when compared to 2019.