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Enforcement

Article 40 of The Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act (Chapter 409) state

“The Authority shall monitor and review all tourism operations to ensure that tourism operations are carried out only in accordance with the provisions of this Act and in compliance with the decisions lawfully taken under this Act; and for the purposes of such monitoring and review the Chairperson of the Enforcement Directorate or any person authorised by him to that effect shall have the right at all reasonable times to enter and inspect any tourism operation, other than a tourist guide.”

The Malta Travel and Tourism Services ACT (CHAPTER 409) and it's subsidiary acts

The above article dictates the primary role of the Enforcement Unit, that is, to monitor the tourism industry to ensure that what is being offered is up to standard.  This is achieved through regular inspections of tourism operations to check that these comply with legal standards.

Presently the Unit consists of one senior manager, one assistant manager, eight quality assurance executives, three field officers and two clerks and a Senior Head based in Gozo.

This small unit does not limit its actions to enforcing the regulations, but coaches and helps the industry to achieve a higher standard than is required by the law.  Being in constant contact with the industry, the officers of the unit act as a bridge between the industry and other units of the Malta Tourism Authority and also with departments like the Health, the Lands, Police and the Trade.

Article 21 of Legal Notice 128 of 2002 (Subsidiary Legislation 409.08), as amended by Legal Notices 186 of 2002, 409 of 2004 and 85 of 2005 Tourism Operations (General) Regulations gives the necessary tools for the Enforcement Unit to perform its duties.

(1) Any person authorised in writing by the Authority as provided for in article 40 of the Act, may -

(a) enter and inspect at all reasonable times, any premises being used as a tourism operation, whether it is licensed under the Act or otherwise;

(b) board land and seaborne transport, to investigate a breach in relation to the provisions of the Act or any regulations made thereunder;

(c) require any tourism operator to produce, verbally or in writing, any operational information as may be reasonably required in relation to the inspection being carried out;

(d) examine and withdraw copies of any records found therein which he has reason to believe may contain evidence of any offence committed against the provision of the Act or any regulations made thereunder;

(e) enquire from any person who appears to him to be engaged in, or carrying on, or employed in the business of the tourism operation, on any matter relating to the application or the compliance with the provisions of the Act or any regulations made thereunder;

(f) obtain photographic and video recordings as necessary evidence.

(2) Any person authorised to carry out an inspection of a tourism operation, shall provide means of identification or written authorisation.

(3) Any person carrying out such inspection shall give a written receipt of any object or document withdrawn by him under the provisions of this regulation, to the person from whose possession such object or document has been withdrawn.

Click below to download the relevent law:

TOURISM OPERATIONS (GENERAL) REGULATIONS

The tourism sectors monitored by the Unit are

  • Accommodation
  • Catering
  • Diving
  • Guiding
  • Timeshare
  • Host Families
  • Holiday Premises
  • Travel agencies

Other duties which fall within the remit of the Unit are:

  • Investigation of complaints
  • Inspections in connection with the processing of applications
  • Formulation of legislation
  • Take legal action when necessary
  • Defend cases before the Tourism Appeals Board

 Accommodation

This sector is subdivided into various segments:

  • Hotels
  • Tourist Villages
  • Guest houses
  • Hostels

Mainly three types of inspections are performed in accommodation premises.  These are the full inspection, the follow-up inspection and the complaint investigation inspection.  It is the policy of this Unit, that inspections are performed by a team of two Officers. 

These inspections are based on Legal Notice 351 of 2012 Tourism Accommodation Establishments Regulations.  This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

TOURISM ACCOMMODATION ESTABLISHMENTS REGULATIONS

Full inspection

The full inspection of accommodation premises, as the name implies, is intended to cover all the areas of the premises.  This does not mean that every room, or unit, has to be inspected, but it means that a large enough sample is inspected to be able to get as much as is reasonably possible, a true picture of all the various sections of the establishment, the rooms, public areas, kitchen, restaurant, leisure facilities etc.

The full inspection is normally performed once a year. Circumstances may arise where a full inspection is performed prior to the lapse of one year from the previous full inspection.  Such circumstances can be persistent complaints, change of accommodation premises management, or a request for upgrading.

Following the full inspection an improvement plan is agreed upon between the Officer representing the MTA and the Licencee of the premises.  This improvement plan is a schedule with timeframes for the correction of infringements observed during the inspection.  The adherence to this improvement plan is monitored through follow up inspections.

Follow up inspection

The aim of the follow up inspection is to ensure that deficiencies noted in the full inspection are rectified, and that time frames agreed upon are being adhered to by the management of the premises.  Follow up inspections also ensure that good quality premises remain so.  The follow up inspection is always performed unannounced.

The frequency of the follow up inspections depends on the state of the hotel. If during a follow up inspection it is noted that there is a marked improvement or deterioration of the premises and the services offered the frequency is adjusted accordingly.

Complaint investigation

This inspection is performed in order to investigate a complaint.  A complaint can consist of items which can be verified, and items which cannot be verified, usually a mixture of both. 

These inspections are to be performed unannounced if the intention of the officer is to check tangible items reported in a complaint which may be still present on the premises.  If the complaint consists solely of issues which cannot be confirmed by the officer during his/her inspection, then the executive may make an appointment with the management to discuss the issue. The management is to be informed of the contents of the complaint so that they may take any corrective action that they deem necessary without divulging the identity of the complainant, unless authorised to do so by the complainant.

Reports of inspections

Following every inspection, a report is prepared by the executive and referred to the Licencee of the Hotel.  A copy of the report is also referred to the operator if different from the licencee.

Catering

This sector is subdivided into various segments:

  • Restaurants
  • Snack Bars
  • Bars
  • Nightclubs and/or Discotheques
  • Kiosks

Inspections are performed on a regular basis in these establishments.  Inspections are performed by a team of two officials.  Some of the inspections are performed in the evenings through out the seven days of the week.

Following the inspection, if need be, an improvement plan is agreed upon between the officials representing the MTA and the Licencee/operator of the premises.  This improvement plan is a schedule with timeframes for the correction of infringements observed during the inspection.  The adherence to this improvement plan is monitored through follow up inspections.

Following every inspection, a report is prepared by the executive and referred to the Licencee of the catering establishment.  A copy of the report is also referred to the operator if different from the licencee.

These inspections are based on Legal Notice 175 of 2004 Catering Establishments Regulations ( S.L 409.15).  This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

CATERING ESTABLISHMENTS REGULATIONS

Diving

Officials of the Enforcement Unit perform inspection both at the licensed diving centres and at the dive sites around Malta, Gozo and Comino. This monitoring together with an already well managed industry has resulted in an improvement in the standards.

The recreational diving industry in Malta is regulated through Legal Notice 359 of 2012 Recreational Diving Services Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 409.13). These standards have been designed around the European Standards which focus on the service and safety aspects of recreational diving. This has resulted in confirming Malta as one of the safest diving locations in the world. This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

Guiding

The unit performs regular spot checks in areas normally frequented by guided tours.  These areas include prehistoric sites, Museums, places of worship, fortifications and walled cities together with UNESCO heritage sites. 

Guides are checked to ensure that they are wearing the tag and that they are guiding in the approved language.

Organised excursions are intercepted to check that they are provided with a licensed guide.

These inspections are based on Legal Notice 129 of 2002 " Travel Operators and Organised Excursion Operators Regulations" and Legal Notice 288 of 2010 Tourist Guides Regulations (S.L 409.12).  This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

Organised Excursion Operators

Legal Notice 129 of 2002 Travel Operators and Organised Excursion Operators Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 409.09) is also relevant during these inspections since regulation 5 (4) of this legislation stipulates that

“No organised excursion operator or any other person shall organise an excursion unless the services of a licensed tourist guide are provided for such an excursion”

This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

TRAVEL OPERATORS AND ORGANISED EXCURSION OPERATORS REGULATIONS

Timeshare

The unit performs regular spot checks in areas normally frequented by Outside Promotional contacts.  These areas include Golden Sands, Ghadira, Mellieha, Qawra, Bugibba, St. Julians and sliema.

Outside Promotional Contacts, OPC are persons who are “employed” by a marketing company.  The role of the OPC is to entice persons, normally tourists, to attend to a presentation at a resort.  Other persons at the resort, known as Inside Promotional Contacts make a presentation to the guests encouraging them to buy timeshare.

The Authority is responsible to issue a licence both to the Marketing Company and to the OPC.  The licence of an OPC is issued in relation to a Marketing Company and a specific resort.  The Authority issues an identification document to the OPC, which has to be worn by the OPC while doing his work.

The Marketing companies employing OPC have to deposit a guarantee of €2329.00 for every OPC they engage. 

Any person who is found breaching the regulations is fined.  If the fine is not paid, the Authority withdraws the fine from the guarantee, which then has to be replenished by the Marketing Company.

The legislation which regulates the marketing of timeshare and timeshare like products by OPC is Legal Notice 287 of 2010 Timeshare and Timeshare-Like Production Promotion (Licencing Of OPC
Representatives) Regulations (S.L 409.16).

This legislation can be downloaded from the government website

TIMESHARE AND TIMESHARE-LIKE PRODUCTS PROMOTION (LICENSING OF OPC REPRESENTATIVES) REGULATIONS

 

Apart from monitoring the marketing of timeshare and timeshare-like products on the road by OPC, The Authority is also responsible to ensure that no advance payments from a buyer are accepted by the seller prior to the end of the period during which the buyer may withdraw from the contract.

Detailed information can be found from the government website:


PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS (TIMESHARE, LONG-TERM HOLIDAY PRODUCT, RESALE AND EXCHANGE CONTRACTS) REGULATIONS


Host Families

The Enforcement Unit performs spot checks on licenced host families to ensure that the number of students that is allowed by the licence is being observed.  The quality of the lodging and the service that is being offered to the students is also monitored.

Spot checks are also performed on families suspected of hosting students without having the appropriate licence.

In licensing host families, and during inspections, special attention is given to ensure as much as is reasonably possible, that foreign students are safe.

The whole legislation can be downloaded from the government website:

HOST FAMILY ACCOMMODATION REGULATIONS


Holiday Premises

  • Holiday premises categories include
  • Apartments
  • Studios
  • Villas
  • Farmhouses

Inspections on a sample of premises licensed in the above categories is performed by the Unit on a regular basis to ensure that standards are being observed.

Exercises are also done by the unit to identify unlicensed operations, since these disrupt a level playing field amongst the sector and unfair competition with other sectors offering accommodation like hotels and guesthouses.

The legislation governing holiday premises is Legal Notice 131 of 2002 as amended by Legal Notice 86 of 2005, Holiday Premises Regulation (Subsidiary Legislation 409.11). The whole legislation can be downloaded from the government website:

HOLIDAY PREMISES REGULATIONS


Travel Agencies

Travel agents are classified as:

  • Incoming Tourism Agent
  • Travel agent (outgoing)
  • Destination Management Company
  • Organised Excursion Operator

The Enforcement Unit regularly monitors local organised excursions to ensure that the services of a licensed guide are provided with such excursions.

An organised excursion is defined by the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act as:

"Organised excursion" means any organised excursion or tour for five or more tourists or other persons to one or more places in or around Malta or transport but excludes any service intended solely to provide transport; and "organised excursion operator" shall be construed accordingly;

The Unit also do exercises to ensure that persons who are acting as incoming tourism agents, outgoing travel agents, and destination management companies or organised excursion operators have the appropriate licence

An incoming tourism Agent is defined by the Act as:

"incoming tourism agent" means any person who, whether as principal or agent, arranges for, advises on or undertakes to provide to tourists and other persons, whether singly or in groups, travel arrangements inrespect of incoming travel ,including accommodation in a hotel, guest house, hostel, holiday premises or house used for the provision of accommodation to tourists; travel; organised excursions and all other matters normally or by custom connected with the tourism industry, but does not include a hotel keeper, guest house keeper, hostel keeper, keeper of holiday premises, a person who provides accommodation to tourists in a house, a tourist guide, a person who provides transport services, a travel agency, a destination management company or an organised excursion operator and "incoming tourism agency" shall be construed accordingly;

A travel agent is defined by the Act as:

"travel agent" means any person who, whether as principal or agent, arranges for, advises on or undertakes to provide to tourists and other persons, whether singly or in groups, travel arrangements in respect of outgoing travel, including accommodation in a hotel, guest house, hostel, holiday premises or house used for the provision of accommodation to tourists; travel by air, land or sea; organised excursions and all other matters normally or by custom connected with the tourism industry; but does not include a hotel keeper, guest house keeper, keeper of holiday premises, a person who provides accommodation to tourists in a house, a tourist guide, a supplier of transport services, an incoming tourism agency, a destination management company or an organised excursion operator and "travel agency" shall be construed accordingly;

A destination management company is defined by the act as:

"Destination management company" means any person whose principal line of business, whether as principal or agent, is the creation, planning and operation of high level motivational and specialised programmes for tourists and other persons, whether

singly or in groups, and which programmes include the provision of all or any of the following services: accommodation in a hotel or other suitable establishment; travel; conference facilities; excursions; guides; interpreters; technical support; entertainment

and all other matters normally connected with motivational programmes, congresses, meetings and conference and incentive travel. The term ''destination management company'' does not include a hotel keeper, guest house keeper, keeper of holiday premises, a person who provides accommodation to tourists in a house, a tourist guide, a person who provides transport services by land, sea or air, an incoming tourism agent, a travel agent or an organised excursion operator;

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulation, Legal Notice157 of 2000, as amended by Legal Notices 258 of 2001; S.L 409.01 can be downloaded from

PACKAGE TRAVEL, PACKAGE HOLIDAYS AND PACKAGE TOURS REGULATIONS


Travel Operators and Organised Excursion Operators Regulations, Legal Notice 129 of 2002, Subsidiary Legislation 409.09 can be down loaded from:

TRAVEL OPERATORS AND ORGANISED EXCURSION OPERATORS REGULATIONS

 

Investigation of complaints

There are several ways in which a complaint can reach the Directorate. Complaints can be lodged personally or by means of an e-mail or telephone call.  Complaints can also be referred to the Unit through the Customer Care Unit within the MTA.

All the personnel within the Enforcement Unit follow the procedures as laid down in an adhoc Departmental Operating Procedure.  This will ensure that all the complaints are registered, acknowledged, investigated and the necessary steps taken.  This will help the Unit to perform all these process in a uniform and consistent way. 

The investigation of the complaint is not delayed unnecessarily.  The inspection of a premises in connection with a complaint is utilized to identify areas which may be overlooked during routine inspections.

Items mentioned in a complaint which could be verified are checked thoroughly. For example if a complaint highlights a number of deficiencies in a particular hotel room, not only that room is checked, but a number of other rooms.

When a complaint refers to issues which cannot be verified during an inspection, these issues are discussed with the management of the premises.

The identity of the complainant should is never divulged unless specific authorisation to do so is given by the complainant.

Inspections in connection with the processing of applications

When an application is lodged with the Malta Tourism Authority, one of the requirements is the conformity with the current legislation governing that activity. The Unit inspects the premisis to ensure compliance with the current legislations. A report is reffered to the Licencing Unit for furthur processing.

Formulation of legislation

Personnel from this Unit participate actively in the formulation and revision of legislation related to the tourism industry.

Officials from this Unit have the advantage of being in constant communication with all the stakeholders in the industry and the ultimate customers making use of the product or service.  This exposure enables the Officers to put forward suggestions which will improve the product or service being offered but at the same time keeping in mind the limitations of the industry.

This unit has frequently been the platform for consultation between different stakeholders having very varied interests in a tourism activity.  Through these consultations legislations which safeguard the interest of the tourist and the stakeholders and at the same time implementing the policies of the Government and MTA have been proposed.

Take legal action when necessary

The policy of the Enforcement Unit is to take legal action when all other means have failed to obtain compliance with the legislation unless there is a serious risk to the health and safety of the tourist or to the image of the Maltese tourism industry.

The Unit can take any of the following legal measures bring about compliance with the legislation

  • Issue an administrative fine notice
  • Issue an enforcement notice
  • Refer a case directly to the Commissioner of Police
  • Withdraw money from a guarantee in case of infringements related to timeshare.

Administrative Fine Notice

Article 45 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act states:

(1) Notwithstanding any other law providing for the trial and punishment of offences, where the Authority believes that a person has committed an offence against this Act, other than an offence under article 43(1) (c), the Authority may give notice in writing to such person describing the offence of which the person is accused, indicating the steps to be taken to remedy the offence and the fine which he is required to pay in respect of that offence:

Provided that the Authority may not require the payment of a fine higher than two thousand and three hundred and twenty-nine euro and thirty-seven cents (2,329.37).

(2) Where a notice under this article has been given, the person named in the notice may, within twenty-one days of the service of the notice, accept responsibility for the offence specified in the notice and within the same period, or such further period as the Authority may allow, remedy the offence and pay, or undertake in writing to pay, the fine indicated in the notice or such fine as the Authority may accept in lieu, and in any such case –

(a) the person named in the notice shall be deemed to have committed the offence and to have admitted his guilt in respect thereof, and the fine paid, or agreed to be paid, shall be the fine to which he became liable to pay;

(b) if the offence is remedied and the fine is paid within the period, or further period as aforesaid, no further proceedings may be taken against the said person in respect of the same facts;

(c) if the fine is not paid within the period, or further period as aforesaid, it shall be treated as if it were a fine (multa) ordered to be paid by the court which would have had jurisdiction to take cognisance of the offence, and proceedings may be taken accordingly as if it were an order of that court.

(3) Where the person to whom notice is given under subarticle (1) does not accept responsibility for the offence or, having accepted such responsibility, fails to remedy the offence within the time aforesaid, ordinary proceedings may be taken against him in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code, of this Act and of any other law applicable to the offence.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Criminal Code, the Cap. 9. Attorney General shall always have a right of appeal to the Court of the Criminal Appeal from any judgement given in proceedings arising out of this Act or of any regulations, rules or orders made hereunder.


Enforcement Notice

Articles 41 and 42 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act states:

Article 41.

(1) If it appears to the Authority that any tourism operation is being carried on without the licence required in that behalf under this Act, or that any conditions subject to which a licence was granted in respect of any tourism operation are not being complied with or that a licensed tourism operation is being run in violation of any of the provisions of this Act or of any regulations made hereunder, or that circumstances have arisen which justify the revocation of the licence, the Authority shall serve a notice on the owner of the tourism operation or, in the case of a tourist guide, on the tourist guide, requiring the tourism operation to be stopped forthwith or, in cases not involving an unlicensed tourism operation, that the tourism operation be stopped forthwith or that the irregularity be rectified.

(2) A copy of the notice given under subarticle (1) shall also be served on any operator of the tourism operation and on any employees in the tourism operation and a copy shall be fixed at a point of entry into each of the premises used for or in connection with the tourism operation.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a notice given under subarticle (1) (in this Act also referred to as an "enforcement notice") shall –

(a) in respect of any requirement stopping or prohibiting the further carrying on of a tourism operation, take effect immediately upon service of the notice;

(b) in respect of any other requirement, take effect immediately upon service of the notice or at the expiration of such period as shall be specified.

(4) Any person who feels himself aggrieved by any enforcement notice served on him may, within fifteen days from the service of the notice, appeal against it to the Board; and in any such appeal the Board –

(a) if satisfied that a licence was in force under this Act for the tourism operation to which the enforcement notice relates or that no such licence was required in respect thereof, as the case may be, or that the conditions subject to which such licence was granted were complied with and that the tourism operation to which the enforcement notice relates was being run in accordance with the provisions of this Act and of any regulations made hereunder, shall quash the enforcement notice to which the appeal relates or such part thereof in respect of which the Board is satisfied as aforesaid;

(b) in any other case, shall dismiss the appeal.

(5) An appeal shall suspend the effects of the notice against which the appeal is entered, except those that stop the carrying on of a tourism operation, until such time as the appeal is determined.  The appeal, if upheld, shall cancel this notice.

(6) When an appeal is dismissed, the Board may direct that, in respect of any requirement, other than a requirement stopping or prohibiting the further carrying on of a tourism operation, the enforcement notice shall not come into force until such date as the Board thinks fit.

Article 42

(1) If any steps or other action, including any discontinuance, stoppage or similar requirement to be taken by an enforcement notice have not been taken within the time specified therein, or forthwith if so specified, the Authority may enter the tourism operation, other than a tourist guide, to which the enforcement notice relates and take such steps, including the closure of the tourism operation or other action as required by circumstances and may for such purpose request the assistance of the police which shall for such purpose exercise such powers as are vested in them for the prevention of offences and the enforcement of law and order.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, no precautionary warrant or other order shall be issued or made by any court restraining the Authority from the exercise of any of the powers conferred upon it by this article.

(3) All expenses reasonably incurred by the Authority to carry out an enforcement notice under this article shall be recoverable as a civil debt by the Authority from the person who is then the owner of the tourism operation or, in the case of a tourist guide, from the tourist guide, to which the enforcement notice relates, without prejudice to such right of recovery such person may have against any other person.


Refer a case directly to the Commissioner of Police

Article 43 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act states:

(1) Any person who –

(a) not being in possession of a licence, carries on any tourism operation or allows any tourism operation to be carried on from or in property of which he is the owner or a co-owner or from or in which he could have carried on such operation if he were in possession of a licence; or

(b) being in possession of a licence fails to comply with any applicable provision of this Act or with any condition, restriction or other limitation to which the licence is subject; or

(c) having been served with an enforcement notice or other order under article 41, fails to comply with any of the requirements of such notice within the time therein specified or forthwith as the case may be; or

(d) hinders, obstructs, molests or interferes with, or attempts to hinder, obstruct, molest, or interfere with, any officer, employee or agent of the Authority, or any police officer, in the execution of his duties under the law, or fails to comply with any reasonable requirement demanded of him by any such officer, employee, agent or police officer as aforesaid or otherwise to assist him in the carrying out of the said duties, or knowingly furnishes such officer or employee or agent or police officer with false information required for the purpose aforesaid; or

(e) knowingly makes a declaration for any of the purposes of this Act which is false, misleading or incorrect in any material respect; or

(f)* fails to comply with the provisions of article 31, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine (multa) of not less than one thousand and one hundred and sixty-four euro and sixty-nine cents (1,164.69) and not

more than twenty-three thousand and two hundred and ninety-three euro and seventy-three cents (23,293.73), and in the case of an offence under paragraph (b) of this subarticle, or in respect of an offence under paragraph (c) of this subarticle, if the offender persists in the offence for more than three months, also to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months and not more than three years.

(2) The court, besides awarding the punishment referred to in subarticle (1), shall order the offender to remove the causes of the offence and to undo anything which was done without a licence or to comply with the conditions imposed in the licence, as the case may be, within a time sufficient for the purpose, but in any case not exceeding three months from the date of the judgement, to be fixed by the court; and if the offender fails to comply with any order within the time so fixed, he shall be liable to a fine (multa) of not less than one thousand and one hundred and sixty-four euro and sixty-nine cents (1,164.69) and not more than eleven thousand and six hundred and forty-six euro and eighty-seven cents (11,646.87), as the court may fix, for every day the default continues after the expiration of the said time.

(3) The provisions of the Probation Act shall not apply in relation to the offences mentioned in subarticle (1).

(4) Proceedings against any person for any offence as is mentioned in subarticle (1) shall be taken before the Court of Magistrates (Malta) or the Court of Magistrates (Gozo), as the case may be, as courts of criminal judicature in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code:

Provided that, notwithstanding the provisions of article 376(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, the court shall, at the request of the prosecution or of the accused, take down evidence given by the witnesses in the manner provided for in article 390(6) of the said Code or in any other law.

(5) In any prosecution against a person charged with running or operating a hotel, guest house, hostel, or holiday premises without a licence as is provided for in article 18(1), or charged with providing accommodation to tourists, other than bona fide friends or relatives who are provided with such accommodation without any payment, without a licence as provided for in article 18(2), it shall be sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the accused had control of the premises to which the charge relates; that, upon inspection of the premises, a tourist or tourists were found thereon;

that such premises had sleeping facilities; that personal effects of such tourist or tourists were found on such premises; and that the premises were not duly licensed, and it shall not be required to produce such tourist or tourists as witnesses or such personal effects as evidence, and the court shall deem such charge to be proved unless the accused proves that such tourist or tourists had been duly accommodated in licensed premises or that such tourist or tourists were bona fide friends or relatives as aforesaid.

(6) In any prosecution against a person charged with being an accomplice in any one or more of the offences listed in subarticle (5) it shall be sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the premises to which the charge relates were not duly licensed as is provided for in article 18(1) or (2), as the case may be; that, upon inspection of the premises, a tourist was found thereon; that such premises had sleeping facilities; that personal effects of such person were found on the premises; and that the accommodation in  the premises was procured by or for such person through the intervention, however effected, of the accused, and the prosecution shall not be required to produce such tourist as a witness or such personal effects as evidence, and the court shall deem such charge to be proved unless the accused proves that prior to intervening in the procurement of the accommodation he made diligent enquiries as to the licensing of the premises or that, in the circumstances, he could not reasonably have been expected to know that the premises were not duly licensed.

Withdraw money from a guarantee in case of infringements related to timeshare.

The Authority can withdraw money from the guarantee of the marketing companies for infringment comitted by the marketing company or it's OPCs.

The fines imposed by the Authority in terms of these regulations shall, following notice in writing to the marketing company, be withdrawn from the bond deposited by the marketing company with the Authority unless the marketing company or its representative shall supply proof to the satisfaction of the Authority that the breach has not been effected.

Before withdrawing amounts from the bond deposited with the Authority by the marketing companies to cover fines, and before imposing fines on OPCs and marketing companies for breaches of these regulations, the Authority shall inform the marketing company or the OPC, as the case may be, of its intention and shall give the marketing company or the OPC an opportunity to make representations.

If the marketing company or OPC is aggrieved by any decision of the Authority, the marketing company or OPC may lodge an appeal from such a decision in accordance with the provisions of article 14(8) of the Third Schedule of the Act, on payment of the fee set out in the Fees (Tourism) Regulations.

This legislation also gives the Authority the right not to issue, renew and suspend the licence of an OPC.

 

Tourism Appeals Board

Article 13 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act establishes the set up of the Tourism Appeals Board while article 14 (2) gives the right to persons to appeal from a decision of the Authority:

13. (1) There shall be a board, to be known as the Tourism Appeals Board, consisting of an advocate who has been practising for not less than seven years, who shall preside, and another two persons versed in travel and tourism, each of whom shall be appointed by the Prime Minister

(2) The Prime Minister may also appoint panels of members and in such case the composition of the Board for any one or more appeals to be heard by it shall be the responsibility of the secretary who shall, as far as is practicable, determine the composition on the basis of rotation.

14. (1) The Board shall have jurisdiction –

(a) to hear and determine all appeals made by any person aggrieved by any decision of the Authority not to grant or renew, or to revoke, or to suspend a licence; or to impose conditions, limitations or exclusions therein or therefor; and

(b) to hear and determine all appeals made by any person aggrieved by any decision of the Authority on any matter concerning the classification or reclassification of tourism operations and the enforcement of control:

Provided that the jurisdiction of the Board shall be limited to ensuring that the policy of the Government and the provisions of this Act o r any other appl i c a b l e law have been properly implemented or applied and that the discretion vested in the Authority has not been used in an unreasonable manner.

(2) The decisions of the Board shall be final except with respect to points of law decided by the Board from which an appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction).

(3) The decisions of the Board shall be binding if they are supported by the opinion of two of its members, and the dissenting member, if any, may express his opinion separately; and all decisions of the Board shall be delivered in public and shall be published as soon as practicable after the sitting at which they are given.

(4) Advance notice of not less than fourteen days shall be given of the meetings of the Board in such manner as the Board may deem appropriate or as may be prescribed under article 47. The Board shall hold a first hearing of the appeal within one month of the day of filing of the appeal.

(5) The Board may appoint experts and may require any department of Government or agency of the Government to provide the Board with such information or advice as the Board may deem necessary for the proper execution of its functions

(6) The Board shall have an independent administrative secretariat consisting of a secretary to the Board and such other officers or employees as may be necessary for a prompt and efficient determination of the matters within its jurisdiction. The secretariat shall be chosen and appointed by the Board.

(7) Without prejudice to the provisions of subarticle (6), the administrative and technical support required by the Board for the performance of its functions shall be provided by the Authority.

(8) Subject to the above, appeals to the Board and the conduct of the business of the Board shall be made in accordance with the rules contained in the Third Schedule to this Act; and in the absence of such rules on any matter, the Board may regulate its own procedure.

(9) Appeals to the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction) from decisions of the Board as provided in subarticle (2) shall be made within fifteen days from the day the decision is delivered and such appeals shall be regulated by Rules of Court made under article 29 of the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure.

(10) The Minister responsible for justice may by regulations under this subarticle establish the fees payable in the registry of the court in relation to the filing of judicial acts in connection with appeals to the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction) under this article:

Provided that until such fees are so established by the Minister, the fees contained in Schedule A to the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply.

Appeals by Timeshare Marketing Companies and/or Outside Promotional Contacts

If the marketing company or OPC is aggrieved by any decision of the Authority, the marketing company or OPC may lodge an appeal from such a decision in accordance with the provisions of article 14(8) of the Third Schedule of the Act, on payment of the fee set out in the Fees (Tourism) Regulations.

The fee for an appeal is one hundred and sixteen euros and 47 cents (€ 116.47) as set out in part XVI:Fees on Appeal of the First Schedule of Legal Notice 125 of 2002 as amended.

An appeal is to be made to the Secretary of the Tourism Appeals Board within fifteen (15) days from the date the decision on which the appeal is entered is communicated to the persons concerned.

Contacts:

Senior Manager,

Quality Assurance Directorate

Mr Charles Grech

E-mail: Charles.grech@visitmalta.com

Telephone: +356 22915400

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