Tourism operators in Gozo blame overdevelopment for loss of charm

Gozo Tourism Association survey with tourism operators finds concerns with overdevelopment, shabbiness and lack of cleanliness

Tourism operators fear overdevelopment is killing Gozo's charm and characteristics
Tourism operators fear overdevelopment is killing Gozo's charm and characteristics

Overdevelopment is Gozo’s bane and causing the island to lose its charm and characteristics, tourism establishments surveyed by the Gozo Tourism Association believe.

All participants in the survey, without fail, pointed an accusing finger at overdevelopment as a threat to the rural island’s charm. And 91% believe overdevelopment will actually deter foreign and domestic tourism.

The GTA said the findings from the online survey amongst its members showed that overdevelopment was a serious concern for operators with 81% saying that unfinished projects were giving the destination a “shabby look”.

Gozo is also dirty with 62% of operators saying the island needs a general clean up and continuous maintenance of public places, playing fields, gardens and green areas.

Asked about the need to upgrade their product, 55% agreed their establishments needed to renovate and upgrade but 95% admitted they were not financially in a position to make the necessary investment.

Wages, the cost of repairs and renewals, and food prices are the principal drivers for higher operating costs. The survey found that 64% of establishments have had to adjust their selling prices and rates to cover these increases.

Asked about the shortage of human resources in the tourism sector, 66% of Gozitan operators said one of the solutions should be the postponement of employment with the public sector, while 64% suggested favourable tax incentives for employees in the tourism industry. Another 54% suggested the fast tracking of work permits and visa applications for tourism employees

The survey showed 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.