The Malta Independent 4 October 2022, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: Gozo losing its charm - stating the obvious

Friday, 12 August 2022, 10:59 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Gozo Tourism Association on Wednesday published the results of a survey which it carried out over the past couple of weeks which, amongst other things, found that Gozo is losing its charm as a result of over-development.

The survey focused on Gozo's touristic product and the constraints being encountered by the Gozitan tourism establishments during these recovery times from the Covid pandemic.

The survey confirmed that the tourism sector on Gozo is seriously concerned about the over development on the sister island. 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.

To say that this is stating the obvious is an understatement. Countless NGOs, mayors, residents, and newspapers including this one have consistently said that Gozo is on the verge of being ravaged beyond repair, much like Malta has.

For years now, Gozo has been falling victim to rampant overdevelopment, developers' greed and poor planning policies that favour the construction sector rather than the island's unique character.

Quaint seaside villages like Xlendi and Marsalforn have been turned into new Bugibbas, once rural villages like Qala have been taken over by rows and rows of apartment blocks - and the construction just keeps going on, and on, and on.

The Tramps famously wrote that Gozo is a diamond - as things stand, it's being treated more like a cheap piece of costume jewellery.

But despite all of this - our politicians continue to fail to lift a finger against it.

So much is always said about the importance of Gozo, particularly in general election times.  Politicians make it a point to refer to "the Maltese and Gozitan people" in their speeches in order to recognise that they do represent people who live in Gozo as well.

These same politicians would do well to actually represent the interests of Gozitan residents, and not the pockets of a few major developers whom they may or may not have had lunch with in the run-up to the general election, in how they govern.

Planning policies which reflect Gozo's characteristics and which protect them and stop the island from becoming a second Malta are absolutely essential.  The situation has become so dire that it might be worth even considering a moratorium on all new developments until such a policy comes into being.

But as things stand, any hope to that end is merely wishful thinking.

They do say that hope is the last thing to die, but as things stand even that is on life support: and when it's too late, the perpetrators will be laughing their way to the bank, and the people will be the ones left to suffer the consequences.


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