E Travel during the ‘new normal’ involved some adjustments. Face masks were required in airports and on flights, and there were frequent reminders via floor stickers and Tannoy announcements to respect social distancing and hygiene rules.

E On departure from Luton airport, many shops and bars had yet to reopen and inflight services were more limited than normal.

E The outbound flight was nearly full and on arrival, some passengers seemed to be on autopilot, filling up the aisle in a rush to disembark.

E Visitors must fill in a contact tracing form. It was unfortunate to see some passengers crowding around tables to complete theirs, but this could be avoided.

E On return to the UK, holidaymakers must also fill in a form, which can be done online within 48 hours of departure.

E Maltese accommodation and dining providers must comply with government hygiene regulations, with elbow bumps, temperature checks and Perspex screens seemingly second nature. Approved businesses are awarded a Certified Compliant sticker, usually displayed prominently.


The Malta Tourism Authority is running agent webinars focusing on key themes, with introductory sessions followed by more-detailed Q&As with suppliers. Sign up at

TOPIC Adventure

Maltese Islands May 7 June 4

Scuba diving July 9 Wellness Luxury

Weddings 26

INTRODUCTION Q&A May 21 June 18 July 23

August 6

Gastronomy October 1 History

September 3 November 12

December 3 30 JULY 2020 August 20

September 17 October 15

November 26 December 10

ABOVE: David kayaks along the southwest coast of Malta

forward while travelling uphill proved easier said than done as it got pretty steep in places. Reassuringly, the road is set well back from the edge, although my eyes remained fixed on the way ahead.

A quick stop gave the chance to take in the dramatic

clifftop view out to sea. This whole area used to be a training ground for the Royal Marines, with distant island Filfla three miles out to sea a target for shelling practice. After seeing this rugged coastline from above, it was time to get closer – and it would be hard to get any nearer than in a kayak. The single-seat craft proved

surprisingly easy to control, and when the wind picked up, the current made paddling light work. When confronted by rocks, the trick seemed to be to jab the paddle in the water backwards on one side and spin in a tight circle. It felt great on the rare occasion of catching a wave, especially as the glimmer of the bright sun illuminated the choppy water with an electric blue. A little farther around the coast, protected coves had an altogether different look, with radiant turquoise waters contrasting with the deep azure further out. You can explore caves within the cliffs, where the

only source of light reflects in from under the still waters, giving a truly other-worldly glow. In nearly two hours, we encountered just one swimmer, so travelling now means you get to see things that you just wouldn’t otherwise encounter. The islands are a divers’ playground, owing to the number of Second World War wrecks accessible around the coast, while stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and climbing are also alternative active options. All in all, it seemed to me that after months in lockdown, the sea shimmered that bit more radiantly blue, Valletta was that bit more enticing to explore, and hotel and restaurant staff that bit more excited to see us, as the crowds we so often complain about were nowhere to be seen. Hopefully, as the world gradually comes back, travel won’t be taken for granted.


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