Tourism minister, ministry contradict each other on free concert tickets

Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo and his ministry have contradicted eachother regarding some 1,300 free concert tickets given to the ministry by private event organisers that receive up to millions of euros in government sponsorships for their events.

Following Bartolo’s admission in parliament that his ministry received 600 tickets from the organisers of the Robbie Williams concert and 700 from the organisers of Andre Rieu, The Shift sent a freedom of information (FOI) request for more details on who they were given to, only to be told no free tickets were received.

In October, following a parliamentary question from Nationalist Party MP Mark Anthony Sammut, Bartolo admitted his ministry receives free tickets from the organisers of big concerts, specifically naming the Robbie Williams and the Andre Rieu event.

Bartolo refused to reveal how much the organisers had received in the form of government subsidies to hold the concerts in Floriana.

The Shift sent an FOI requesting a full list of recipients, but the official response directly contracted what the minister said in parliament.

“The Ministry is not in a position to reply to this FOI as the organisers of the Robbie Williams and Andre Rieu did not give any tickets to the ministry,” the reply stated.

The reply to the parliamentary question by MP Mark Anthony Sammut.

The Shift has filed a complaint regarding the response, as according to parliamentary standing orders, ministers are obliged to give the correct information to the house of representatives and may face disciplinary procedures if they do not.

The FOI reply from the Ministry of Tourism.

The Shift has already reported how hundreds of free concert tickets are distributed by customer care officials from Bartolo’s ministry and even his relatives to friends, Labour Party activists, and constituency canvassers. 

In 2022, some €56 million was spent on concerts, events and marketing from the Malta Tourism Authority’s budget. No information has been given on how these funds are disbursed and their actual return on investment, if any.

Concert organisers told The Shift that although it is true that some major events, particularly those involving foreign stars, would not be possible to be held in Malta if not for government subsidies, there is a need for transparency and accountability.

“While some event sponsorships are justified, others are not. However, the Tourism Ministry insists on putting everyone in the same basket so that abuses can be justified,” a leading concert organiser told The Shift.

There is no transparent system on who receives government sponsorships, and decisions are made by committees controlled by the minister and his appointees.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
2 months ago

I very much doubt that the Ethics Commissioner will carry out any serious investigation on the matter. At most a mild slap on the hand.
Also, I cannot understand why basic accounting of income and expenditure does not exist in the Finance Ministry or any other Ministry for that matter.
Every event that in any shape or form is partly or fully paid out of taxpayers’ funds
Income – Tickets sold;
Expenditure – All costs, including any freebies should be available at the touch of a button. No AI required here.

2 months ago
Reply to  Francis Said

No artificial intelligence needed; but, with many people, no natural intelligence exists.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
2 months ago

“Thou shalt not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”

Last edited 2 months ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
Robert pace bonello
Robert pace bonello
2 months ago

How can I apply for a free ticket? I am not LABOUR

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
2 months ago

Could it be that the Ethics Commissioner received also such tickets . Can someone please enquire.

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