In line with the current drive to lift COVID-19 restrictions, the Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) has called on the Government and the Health Authorities to lift the domestic leisure travelling ban which has been in place since mid-March.
As part of sweeping restrictions introduced to curb a massive spike of daily transmission rates last month, Government imposed a ban on travelling to Gozo, except for residents or to visit one’s property.
The GTA said at the least, authorities should announce a date when domestic visitors can cross over to Gozo for their holiday breaks.
“Such a date will definitely be a relief to all tourism operators, but especially those in the accommodation sector in order to start confirming booking requests for the coming weeks. A target date will also assist all tourism operators to make the necessary preparations and arrangements to kick start their respective establishment’s operation.”
It said the tourism sector in Gozo is keenly awaiting the target date of 1st June when the country will open up to international tourism so that accommodation operators on the sister island can start receiving foreign arrivals.
However, while understanding the need behind travel restrictions to Gozo in the interim, and that such decisions are taken with the utmost responsibility, along with the current drive to ease restrictions, it is calling for such restrictions to be lifted.
Indeed, accommodation figures for the last quarter of 2020 show that total guests and nights spent in Gozo decreased by 38.3 per cent and 55.4 per cent, respectively. For the same period, total guests and nights spent in Malta went down by 77.3 and 79.9 per cent, respectively.
Joe Muscat, CEO of the GTA, had told BusinessNow.mt how “the local market is very important to [Gozo]”. When Prime Minister Robert Abela announced the first round of restriction-easing two weeks ago, Mr Muscat said that Government could have permitted single households to come to the sister island.
“Many people book those kinds of getaways specifically. Not everyone comes to Gozo for a party.”
On Monday, non-essential shops and services will reopen their doors, having been shuttered since 10th March.
The GTA is also calling for the Health Authorities to see that the remaining tourism workers in Gozo to be vaccinated.
“Having all the tourism front liners vaccinated will relay the message that Gozo is a safe holiday destination, thus building travellers confidence in the island, whilst securing the welling being of both the visitor and service provider.”
Boosting heads in beds, does not correlate with an improvement in quality.
The Malta Tourism Authority will provide local councils with information about owners of holiday premises