A man climbs steps in Cospicua. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier
Malta's economy will be slow to recover after the pandemic, according to an economic expert.
Speaking on the latest episode of the #TimesTalk podcast, economic advisor at Seed consultancy JP Fabri says recent unemployment figures show industries linked to the tourism sector have been, unsurprisingly, the worst hit.
And with Malta's economy at the mercy of other nations, he believes things could get even worse.
"It depends very much on if other countries open their airports and even then it's down to if their citizens decide they feel it's safe to travel. We also might see a situation where governments abroad tax air travel in order to incentivise domestic tourism, which will leave Malta at a disadvantage because of its size."
Fabri warns other areas of the economy will also feel the pain in the coming months.
"The time of impact on certain sectors will be different," he says. "Some were hit immediately, for others it will be a lag."
These include the construction, rental and retail markets, which are heavily reliant on foreign workers, around 4,200 of which have been sent back to their country or chose to return home since March.
"For the past five to seven years our economy was heavily dependent on third-country nationals or foreign workers. And while a recent study shows many expats only stay an average of two years, there was enough of a supply and demand to keep the economy going."
Fabri believes Malta's 'new normal' will be an economy that shrinks back to what it was several years ago.
"This crisis should serve as a wake-up call. We constantly need to reevaluate our position and think ahead."
Training during lockdown
Also on the podcast, national long jump record-holder Claire Azzopardi talks about the mental challenge of continuing to train during lockdown.