BoV recently launched a finance package aimed at supporting enterprises within Malta's tourist industry. This new package is linked to the Tourism Grant Scheme, which forms part of the Malta Structural Fund Programme for 2004-2006.

Through this grant scheme, the MTA would be reimbursing the customer with 60 per cent of approved project costs to a maximum of Lm39,000. The remaining 40 per cent (Lm26,000) is financed by the customer.

Details of the package were announced at a half-day seminar for members of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) at BoV's head office, Marsa?

The speakers addressing the seminar were Winston J. Zahra, MHRA president, Natalie Ann Flynn, MHRA EU consultant, Marie Louise Mangion, senior manager, Strategic Planning & Research Division, MTA, and Reuben Saliba, BoV manager (responsible for SMEs)

Mr Zahra said the MHRA was pleased about the bank's decision to support the grant scheme. "MHRA had originally initiated talks for the benefit of its members. However, we are now very pleased that the scheme is also being offered to everyone in the tourism industry," Mr Zahra added.

Outlining the details of the new BoV package Mr Saliba said the package consisted of two financing products whose aggregate loan finance could not exceed Lm58,000 and this could cover both marketing and fixed asset finances.

This package is available to various enterprises. Projects are eventually selected by the MTA, under the Tourism Grant Scheme.

Mr Saliba went on to say that the MTA would be effecting reimbursement of paid invoices only and therefore customers could experience a cash flow problem.

"The BoV package is specifically tailored to support customers and alleviate this potential problem. In fact, the Bank will be financing up to 90 per cent (rounded up to Lm58,000) of total costs with the remaining 10 per cent (Lm7,000) being financed by the customer himself," he explained.

The two sub-packages - marketing and fixed asset finances - are complimentary. However, the aggregate loan finance cannot exceed Lm58,000. A separate loan account is to be established for each respective type of finance.

When used to support marketing initiatives, this co-funding will support projects at international travel and tourism fairs and workshops, the upgrading and development of new media-based marketing tools and other appropriate marketing initiatives, like promotional material, CD Roms, brochures, promotional events and Website development.

This type of financing can also help MTA-approved infrastructural projects cover environmental initiatives, make accessibility for travellers with mobility problems easier and support the upgrade of infrastructure, immovable equipment and IT systems.

Further information may be obtained from application forms which may be collected from the MTA offices or downloaded from the Website.

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