- Luxair Special offer flight from Lux to Malta,return, …. 139 Euros (c. Lm56) (tax incl.)
- Ryanair flight from London to Riga (yes Riga) …. 25 Euros (c. Lm10) (tax incl.)
- AirMalta Flexifly Scheme… ridiculous complication… no savings … inconvenient
- Average cost to leave Luxembourg for weekend using Ryanair and including Easybycoach costs (15 euros each way to Frankfurt Hahn) 100 Euros (c. Lm40) and that includes Rome, London, Florence, Venice, Scandinavia…)
- Cost of tax payable by each Maltese traveller (including children) leaving Malta in 13 days time to any destination (including lovely Catania) over 100 Euros (c. Lm40)
- Added cost for a family of two adults and two children per holiday 400 Euros (c. Lm120)
- Whoever came up with adding this additional tax… a bunch of priceless idiots.
The fact that departure taxes shall increase in Malta has been known for quite a while. I cannot stop fuming even though this has less of an effect on me since I live abroad. I have written elsewhere about the importance of travel for islanders. I strongly believe in exposure to other cultures and in the best encyclopaedia of all. Forget your Encarta Cd, just pack up your bags and visit city after city. I am not talking lesiure at resorts here. I am talking about the educational visits to cities in Europe. No matter how much I dislike the Maltese package tour I am sure that a fraction of knowledge is achieved every time a tribe of Package Tour Members descend upon a European city unawares. Long before they find their way to the local suq (market), they will have visited the local sites and maybe, just maybe, heard a few pointers about the history of the place from the poor guide who is forced to travel with them.As Maltese I believe we treasure our visits to the big cities of Europe (East and West). Every Maltese has a personal To Do List of visits that he or she ticks off enthusiastically after every vacation that tends to cost the equivalent of a month and a half of salary per person. We treasure these visits much more than mainland Europeans who have the luxury of swinging their car round the next border before you can say “departure tax“.
Students (and youth in general), more than any other category, should have a god-given right to travel as freely as possible and come back with new ideas and fresh air. I used to laugh when my students at University would ask me if I think that a year abroad is “worth it” since they were scared they would miss the advancement of the shark pool and lose out on one year of work on their CV by going to a foreign University for their post-grad degree. How can you think in that way? What kind of coffee-making, slave-oriented, shit-case pushing job at some multi-surnamed law-firm could give you the experience you could obtain for a year in Bruges, Sussex, LSE, King‘s and Maastricht to name a few?
It should not just be the Federated Association of Travel and Tourism Agents who should be making last minute pleas to government to repeal a tax that should never have been. KSU, KNZ, and all youth organisations should be taking the lead and squatting at MIA departures until the tax is history. They should be indundating the government with letters and letters of protest. If that is not enough they should start another referendum. Do not tell me that you would not find 30,000 signatures for this cause. And I would go further. I would draft a law declaring the Maltese citizen’s right to travel. A law that would clearly state that the right to live in an island like ours implies the right to travel.
No. That is my answer to anyone who might be tempted to tell me that the way I write makes it seem that all outside Malta is nice and golden and that Malta is some kind of prison. I do not mean that. There is black and there is white everywhere. It is just different blacks and different whites and we have a right to know that they exist and to have access to these experiences.
So, let’s start…. where do you want to go today?
*Post Scrotum: For non-Maltese readers out there the title “Ghamluha FATTA” is a play on words in Maltese. The phrase means “they took it for granted” while FATTA is also the acronym for the association currently pleading the government for the removal of the tax…. so the phrase could also mean “FATTA did it” (which linguistically is interesting because fatta is Italian for it is done and ghamluha is Maltese for they did it). You can now start throwing the vegetables in my general direction…that is if you can afford the tax to get here.