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  • Writer's pictureMimosa Mermaid

Free cash for visiting Malta and Gozo this summer? Not quite.

You may recall a wee while ago, that I published a blog announcing that the Malta Tourism Authority had a budget to entice travellers to the islands this year. 😀

Well the scheme has now launched and its official name is the Free Independent Traveller (FIT) Scheme.

It's intended to incentivise independent #travellers to visit the islands this #summer by offering "free cash" when staying in one of the schemes #hotels for a minimum of 3 nights.

In case of doubt, an independent traveller is one who dynamically packages their holidays in #Malta, buying flights and hotels separately, rather than booking a package. from a brochure.

The marketing message is,

If you book a 5*, 4* or 3* hotel in Malta or Gozo DIRECT with the property, (so not with a 3rd party supplier for example or Expedia,) and stay for a minimum of 3 nights, the following "cash" will be available PER PERSON upon check-in,

  • 5* - €100 per person

  • 4* - €75 per person

  • 3* - €50 per person

Which is #fabulous right!

Erm, not quite.

You see, it's not cash per se that you will receive, its a credit, to be used at the hotel, and any amount you don't use, is lost.

Attached below is the full list of hotels signed up to the scheme along with (just underneath each listing,) the link to booking.

Free Independent Traveller Scheme - MTA
Download • 8.70MB

I have to say I'm disappointed - for one HUGE reason.

There are oodles of beautiful little #cafe's, #restaurants and #bars, independent #boutique hotels, B&B's and self catering #villas and #apartments who have truly struggled to survive too!

They desperately need our tourist pound, and these stunning islands cry out to be explored.

Hotels will always receive ancillary spend, I mean who doesn't love to lounge by the pool with a #beer or a #cocktail, or three?

If you #travel to the islands this summer and intend to make use of the FIT scheme, please don't be #tempted to simply remain poolside, do venture out to #discover and #explore and to help these smaller businesses survive.

Will this scheme incentivise me to stay only in a hotel on the list?

Absolutely not!

I'm one of the explorers and #adventurers!

I very much like to mix it up, by "staying different"

I adore #farmhouse stays, houses of character, and I like to move around rather than just stay put.

If one of the hotels suits my needs, then great!

Will I be captive to my hotel to use my "cash" no, but it may buy me a couple of bottles of #champagne that I can sip on my balcony before heading out on an evening.

Most importantly, I urge you to carry out some #research before you jump to use this scheme.

Each penny is #precious to us all at the moment and rates are often much cheaper booking via a 3rd party supplier rather than direct with a hotel.

Here are a couple of examples I looked at, both for the 1st of September for 7 nights.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior - Valletta.

Room type - Superior Deluxe Partial Sea View room on a bed and breakfast basis

FIT rate £1271 - no changes or refunds allowed.

3rd party supplier rate with Agoda - £819 - fully flexible

Difference - £452

Taking into account the €400 credit you'd receive upon check-in which equates to £344, you'd still be £108 out of pocket, and the FIT rate is risky as as it doesn't allow changes or refunds.

DB San Antonio Hotel - St Pauls Bay

Room type - Standard double with balcony inland view.

This hotel instead of giving a credit is reducing the total cost by the amount due to you.

FIT rate - €1517.60 minus €300 = €1217.60. This equates to £1048 - 48 hour cancellation policy

3rd Party supplier rate with Stay for Long - £840 - 7 day cancellation policy

Difference £208

I chose these two hotels completely at random and as you can see, the FIT rate is much more #expensive.

There also appears to be no uniform approach.

Some hotels are giving a credit at check-in, some are reducing the cost of your overall stay and others for example the Qawra Palace are asking for a longer minimum stay requirement.

Just something to be #mindful of my lovelies.

I guess the #message I'd like to leave you with is this!

Think of this credit as a nice bonus if the programme offers the best price for your needs, but please do not be caged by it!

The smaller businesses across the islands need our help, and there is far too much #history, #culture, #architecture, and #adventure outside of your hotel walls to miss out on.

Until next time, take care

Tracy 😘

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