The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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Gozo losing its charm due to over-development – unanimous verdict in GTA survey

Wednesday, 10 August 2022, 10:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

All establishments that took part in a survey organised by the Gozo Tourism Association said that the sister island is losing its charm because of over-development.

During the past two weeks, the Gozo Tourism Association said conducted an online survey amongst its members focusing on the touristic product and the constraints being encountered by the Gozitan tourism establishments during these recovery times from the covid pandemic.

The encouraging response to this survey from Gozitan tourism operators covered a spread across the tourism sector on Gozo. The categories that filled in the survey were coming from the Accommodation sectors, Restaurants, Diving Centres, Tourist Attractions, Transport, Tour operators, DMCs, Travel Agencies, Real Estate and Tourism Consultancy firms.

The survey confirmed that the tourism sector on Gozo is seriously concerned about the over development in Gozo. In fact, the all (100 %) of the establishments stated that Gozo is losing its charm and characteristics due to over development on the Island. Furthermore 91% of the survey respondents declared that this development will deter tourists both foreign and local from visiting Gozo.

The respondents of this survey were also asked for their views on the general Gozitan touristic product. Again, a significant majority of 81% of the survey participants stated that the unfinished projects are giving a shabby look of the destination. Furthermore 62% of participants, stated that the Island needs a general clean up, recommending as well continuous maintenance of public places, playing fields, public gardens and green areas. The tourism operators were also questioned about their respective individual product and if their establishment needs to be upgraded and improved to meet the current tourist expectations.

More than half of those who responded this question (55%) stated that their establishments need to be renovated and upgraded. Moreover, a strong majority of 95% of those who replied that their establishment needs upgrading, specified that they are not financially in a position to affect the necessary refurbishments and upgrades.

When asked about the increases in operating costs, 70% of respondents declared their wage bill was the most impacted by these increases. Another 58% indicated the increases in repairs and renewals, while 48% reported that their food cost was impacted by the overall increases in operating costs. Furthermore 64% of respondents declared that they had to adjust their selling prices and rates to cover these increases. Another topic covered by this online survey was the shortage of human resources in the tourism sector on Gozo.

When asked for proposals to mitigate the shortage of staff, 66% of the respondents proposed the postponement of employment with the public sector, whilst 64% suggested favourable tax incentives for employees in the tourism sector and another 54% suggested the fast track for work permits and visa applications for tourism employees.

Finally, from this survey it transpired that 74% of respondents do not have any security issues, while 55% of respondents mostly from the resorts of Marsalfon and Xlendi pointed out the lack of parking spaces which is affecting their clientele.

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