HC Deb 29 June 1961 vol 643 cc650-1
30. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what agreements were made with the Phoenicia Hotel before the last war concerning hotel and other developments for tourism in Malta; how far these agreements have now been modified; and which directors of the Phoenicia Hotel are concerned with the Tourist Board of Malta and the development of other hotels on the island.

Mr. H. Fraser

In 1938 the Malta Hotels Company was granted a 150 years lease of the site of the Phoenicia Hotel. A clause in the relevant deed restricted the Malta Government's freedom to grant any concessions or sites for competing hotels. In June, 1960, terms for the waiver of this clause were negotiated with the company. The managing director of the company is a member of the Tourist Board. So far as I am aware, he is not connected with any other hotel development in Malta.

Mr. Teeling

Does that mean that the Phoenicia Hotel has no longer the power, which, I understand, it used to have, of issuing writs every time Mr. Barker-Benfield and his organisation tried to bring in new hotels to develop the tourist industry to prevent this happening?

Mr. Fraser

That is correct. This removes a restrictive clause, which will be of great benefit to the tourist industry in Malta.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

How much money is involved in the terms of the waiver of this clause?

Mr. Fraser

The terms are very satisfactory to the Malta Government. Instead of 150-year leases, I understand that they will be in perpetuity. At the same time, the Malta Government's further liability to under-write the liability of the company's debenture stock has been waived. The Malta Government are thoroughly satisfied.