Too many incidents of tourists being confronted in the street
while on holiday in Malta has led to the Maltese authorities taking action against the timeshare
companies who employ aggressive sales staff to seek out possible buyers.
Complaints have risen, in recent years, from holiday makers who
have had their time on the island spoiled by being approached on a daily basis to attend
presentations, that can last up to four hours; in the hope that some tourists will buy
into holiday property ownership and timeshares on Malta.
But the Malta tourist authorities have seen the damage it is doing to
the island's economy and have decided to act.
Timeshare touts, who get paid a commission for every potential buyer
they persuade to visit a presentation, can sometimes approach the same tourists two or
three times a day; in a desperate attempt to earn a living in the sun.
As well as the feeling of not being able to go out without being
accosted by these people, some timeshare touts verbally abused Malta tourists who declined
to go to a presentation, or simply followed them down the street after being rebuked.
With the tourism market vital to the Malta economy, the Malta Tourist Authority recognised that some visitors
would be so put off the island by high pressure sales people that they wouldn't return;
potentially losing Malta millions in lost revenue from repeat visitors.
In today's world, Malta has to compete with new destinations in Europe
as well as Spain and her islands. Cheap Malta flights aren't in themselves enough to
sustain tourism at reasonable levels anymore. The trick of sustained tourism is to have
repeat business and timeshare touts bothering visitors to the island are enough, in some
cases, to make sure that repeat visits don't happen.
The legislation the tourist authorities needed, to be able to protect
the tourists, has recently been passed and the Malta Tourist Authority is planning to
outsource security patrols; to police the timeshare touts.
In a clever move, designed to enforce the legislation effectively, the
Malta Tourist Authority are being paid around 3,000 Euros for each rep the timeshare
companies employ; as a bond that allows them to work in a regulated way.
Instead of waiting to take each incident through the courts, the MTA
will be fining the companies found breaking the rules and taking the money out of the
deposited bond money; with the timeshare companies having to make it up to the required
British tourists are often targeted by male and female timeshare
reps working together.
While some timeshare touts base themselves outside Malta hotels,
others drive around in cars; stopping tourists as though they were going to ask for
directions and pointing to a map of Malta, before delivering their sales pitch. With some
timeshare touts more persistent than others.
The timeshare reps are mostly from the United Kingdom and target
British tourists who visit Malta for its sunny climate.
On occasions, the British tourists have had to resort to threaten
violence to be left in peace; with the timeshare reps retorting that they were only trying
to make a living.
In truth, while the timeshare reps are trying to make commission, for
every penny they earn they could be losing the Malta economy far more with every approach
they make as the tourists soon get fed up with the persistent efforts to sell them
something they don't want.
Those tourists are sometimes having their whole holiday spoiled and
are less likely to return.
The last thing the island needs is for tourists to step off their Air Malta flight to be accosted, before they even
reach their hotel, with a sales pitch that reminds them of double glazing salesmen back
The pro-active stance taken by the Malta Tourist Authority, to
protect the British visitor and to ensure that they can enjoy their holiday in the sun,
will hopefully be the first of many to Malta.
The Malta Tourist Authority is to be commended for not only
recognising the problem, but taking action to ensure the Maltese economy doesn't lose
millions in lost revenue; from unhappy Brits who might otherwise take their spending money
elsewhere, in the future.
Time alone will tell if Malta can screen her visitors from more than
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