News | Sunday, 30 May 2010

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Bars, restaurants cheer for World Cup’s business boost

Win-win… ‘Winners to drink to celebrate, losers to drown their sorrows’ – MHRA

Bars and restaurants are getting ready to milk the money-spinning potential of the World Cup with their big screens, while making tourists feel as welcome as possible during the football bonanza.
The electrifying effect on audiences that the World Cup has is undeniable, and Malta is definitely not one to look away from such revelling.
“The tourism element is an important factor but locals also enjoy the matches in company. Not all establishments are tailor-made for such activities. Sports bars like Ryan’s, Time Square and others are obviously set up for the occasion and will be expecting brisk business,” GRTU vice-president Philip Fenech told MaltaToday.
A small chorus disapproval has emerged this year: the Sliema Residents Association are objecting to carcades passing through the locality.
But elsewhere, bar and restaurant owners are doing their best to be ready for the expected influx of tourists and locals who will not choose the venues for massive outdoor screens being set up by other operators.
“We will be having a big screen like all other sports bars even though larger operators are seeing us as rivals for their business. We have been in contact with FIFA and they have reassured us that if we do not charge an admission fee, we can set our minds at rest,” Ramon Camilleri from Paceville’s Peppermint Park insisted.
At one point in time, bar and restaurant owners were worried they would have to pay an exorbitant license fee in order to be able to transmit matches, but this has apparently been cleared up by PBS which holds the rights to the matches’ transmission.
Restaurants are also gearing up for the football marathon, with several adding extra TV screens to be able to accommodate the extra demand which is expected.
“Each football match has always generated huge interest, but for the World Cup we will obviously be there with as many television sets as possible, and we also plan to have lots of games running at the same time. Obviously we expect patronage to be substantial in that month as business is still a bit slow,” said Ray Micallef who manages the Fortizza in Sliema.
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) is upbeat about the prospects of the World Cup and its positive effect on business during the month-long event.
“As can be expected, events such as the World Cup generate interest even for those that perhaps are not keen football followers, and the hospitality sector normally makes special arrangements to have the games viewed wherever possible within their establishment,” MHRA chief executive George Schembri said.
Schembri said hotels would also benefit from the tournament, primarily giving the opportunity to visitors to follow games comfortably during their stay on the island. “Most will put up extra TV sets and large screens in public areas and many will keep a billboard on which results are displayed on a daily basis as information on the progress of the games.”
Schembri said that such events obviously have a positive effect on hotels, restaurants and bars since they boost sales considerably and expectations are pretty buoyant as business starts picking up: “People enjoy sharing in the atmosphere that such events generate and it is great fun sharing in the excitement of the games. It is a win-win situation since the winners will drink to celebrate… and the losers will drink to drown their sorrows.”

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