AD’s Secretary General, Ralph Cassar has lashed out at hotelier and MHRA president Tony Zahra for belittling the efforts of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking as a guest on TVM’s Xtra on Thursday, Zahra had labelled COVID-19 precautions as “Project Fear” and cast doubt on the severity of the virus, insisting that certain sources claimed the common flu had more of an impact than COVID-19. “What has become of the thousands of coronavirus-related deaths which had been forecast?” Zahra had asked.
Reacting to these comments, Cassar said “it is also highly irresponsible for the tourist industry representative to do the rounds on the media trying to minimise and ridicule the efforts of healthcare workers to contain the pandemic.”
“Tony Zahra should realise that an immediate opening of the tourist season would ruin all the sacrifices made by people and healthcare workers. The focus should be on a new normal for tourism,” Cassar said.
“Zahra should ask himself whether an industry which depends on nearly 3 million tourists a year is sustainable,” he went on.
Taking a swipe at Zahra’s hotel empire and the tourism industry which built it, he said “maybe he [Zahra] should ask himself whether it is high time that the so-called eco-contribution paid by tourists is used for green transport and green energy infrastructure, and is increased from the laughable 50 cents per night.”
Cassar added: “Maybe we should decide once and for all to stop increasing tourist beds and stop building hotels to limit the amount of tourists to a more sustainable number. Maybe Tony Zahra could explain how the industry makes its profits off the backs of poorly paid workers.”