mardi, juillet 19, 2005

Ghamluha FATTA* - Flyaway Taxes

  • 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.

10 commentaires:

Kenneth a dit…

The government is right in imposing that tax. Maltese nationals should ideally be banned from travelling outside of the country in the near future.

European countries have lost all their moral values and we might be influenced to support the introduction of abortion.

Qaddisa Marija omm Alla, itlob ghalina l-midinbin...

Antoine Cassar a dit…

This really is ridiculous. Air travel from/to an island should be subsidised, not taxed even more!!

Residents of the Canary and Balaeric Islands, for example, automatically qualify for a discount of about 30% when purchasing a flight to or from mainland Spain.

How ironic (and pathetic) that one year after Malta's entry into the EU, it is becoming more difficult to leave the islands!

alex a dit…

oh when will the pathos in being Maltese ever end?

Fausto Majistral a dit…

If that is not enough they should start another referendum.

Shame! I would have never expected this from a lawyer!

Referenda Act (Cap. 237)

13. (2) The provisions of this Part of this Act shall not apply to this article and to the following enactments:

(f) any fiscal legislation;

Wait until Bo??a hears about this. Next time he will be endorsing Thermidor :p

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Well done Fausto... however this went through my mind as I typed it and I qualified the type of law that should be promoted. Protecting the "right to travel" by law would not be a fiscal legislation per se. The freedom of movement in the EU is a similar kind of right. Any fiscal legislation affecting that right to travel in the future could then be shot down by this act.

Not just a lawyer... also a Gozitan!

PS Would you call bocca an endorsement? :)

Athena a dit…

If it weren't for my parents, I wouldn't bother flying home. I do so rarely and reluctantly. Not because I don't love it, but because air fares are exorbitant, and we use the "budget" Air Malta flight. Last trip we were left at Stansted for ages, with no plane in sight, plane pitched up late, the usual checks took all of 8 minutes and off we went. All this at almost 200 stg per head... in freaking March mind you, not in summer or December. Oh and it wasn't a peak time flight either, I arrived at 3am, to sleepily tell my parents "get me to bed asap please". I was lucky tho, a friend of mine lost her luggage on a similar flight to be told "heqq hux, you either wait five days or you can pick it up from... Glasgow."

Kenneth has a point, we must be protected from travelling to more functional, er morally corrupt, places. Indeed, we should all be condemned to stay at home watching "Dejjem tieghek, Becky", with no possibility to get out. Ever.

bocca a dit…

Whether or not I am an effective endorsement I will leave to Jacques to answer. What the reference to thermidor signifies, apart from a manner of cooking lobster, is baffling.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Endorsement was effective. In fact I think your column should carry a permanent link (apparently called a permalink) to my blog.

As for thermidor... if I recall well it is one of the months of the French revolutionary calendar. 9 thermidor was a date pregnant with significance. At least that's what I think. Fausto on the other hand is a male/female of the conservative side. Which makes his nick rather oxymoronic but interesting.

Just laid my hands on 3 hours of beppe grillo recorded by swiss tv. the guy is a genius. When i grow up I want to be beppe grillo!

Kenneth a dit…

Not just a lawyer... also a Gozitan!

"Ghawdxi tajjeb aharqu, ahseb u ara wiehed hazin"? :P

Hsejjes a dit…

Great Man, Beppe Grillo!!!