The video revealed a growing struggle by tourists to secure a spot on one of the Mediterranean’s most popular and free public beaches.
One of the Mediterranean’s most popular free public beaches has been overrun with dishonest deckchair vendors.
An exhibition of Malta weather revealed that tourists were forced out of coves and not allowed to pass without paying for a recliner.
The Blue Lagoon, between the islands of Comino and Cominotto in Malta, is famous for its clear waters, caves and hidden coves.
It has recently been highlighted as one of the The telegraphthe best beaches this summer, in large part due to Malta’s lack of quarantine requirements.
Formerly a poster for the Maltese tourist office, it is now unrecognizable, buried under umbrellas and deckchairs. Even those arriving on the first ferry to the island are unable to secure space.
Monday Malta weather posted a video of deckchair vendors and employees preventing swimmers from finding space on the public beach. The video has been viewed over four million times.
It shows tourists trying to move along the beach, only to be blocked by barricades of umbrellas and lounge chairs.
“If you rent a deckchair, you can move the parasol,” we hear one employee say.
Maltese viewers condemned the scam, saying the beach grabbing ruined the attraction. “There is no fairness, there is no consideration.”
The video drew a lot of comments from tourists who encountered problems on Comino.
“I had to move empty sunbeds a bit just to get through,” said one visitor, after which an operator “quickly ran up and started yelling at us that unless we hired him we shouldn’t. touch the deckchairs “.
The deckchair companies that tourists accuse of blocking their access to the public beach are paying concessions to the Maltese government.
However, when questioned by local media, the Ministry of Tourism and the tourism watchdog did not specify how many operators were operating on Comino.
A statement to The temperature said only “no licenses for tanning bed operators have been issued this year”.
Authorities in Comino would not answer questions as to whether the lounge chair vendors were breaking access laws or acting unfairly. Instead, they released a statement saying:
“The aforementioned island is not only made up of the Blue Lagoon, but incorporates other natural attractions that, as a government, we will continue to conserve and invest, while promoting the niche of ecotourism.”
The Malta Independent revealed that there were almost 460 sunbeds at a time, double the number allowed in the Maltese Tourism Association’s tender document.
Each of these chairs is charged at 10 euros ($ 16) per day – or up to $ 20 for those closer to the water.
A tourist posted pictures on TripAdvisor saying “Of course the water is beautiful, but there is no more than 2 inches between each bather”. He was concerned about the lack of distancing measures and the waste left behind. “Everything has been ruined,” he said.
Malta’s Ministry of Tourism was recently accused by Friends of the Earth of corruption and abuse of public land.
Previously, the Blue Lagoon had appeared before the Maltese parliament for illegal road works, in order to improve access to the site.
The ombudsman and the environment and planning commissioner said the roads leading to the lagoon were illegal and without proper environmental consideration.
The Malta timetables reported that no action had been taken and resurfacing work continued.
This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald and has been reprinted with permission