gozo

As part of the Gozo Tourism Association’s 2023 National Budget proposals, it called for the entire island of Gozo to be considered as a ‘Design Priority Area’.

This would see special attention given to Gozo, specifically in terms of the quality of new buildings and the improvement of existing buildings and townscape.

The GTA’s proposal comes to light after a survey carried out among its members which found all respondents, that is 100 per cent, are seriously concerned about overdevelopment in Gozo, and are also concerned that the sister island is losing its charms and characteristics as a result.

What would designating the entire region of Gozo as a Design Priority Area mean in practice?

According to the Planning Authority’s policies, such a designation would see special attention given to the quality of new buildings as well as the improvement of existing buildings and townscape.

Applications for development in these areas which do not clearly demonstrate that the necessary quality of urban design will be achieved, or that the quality and prevailing architectural discipline of the immediate built environment has influenced the proposal to a satisfactory degree, will be refused development permission.

Design Priority Areas are characterised by contributing to the unique character of the area and have attractive architectural elements which should be perpetuated and enhanced.

Fixed wing air link between Gozo and Malta

The GTA reiterated its proposal or an air link between the sister islands, which was also included in its 2022 National Budget proposals.

It praised the latest addition of a fast ferry service connecting Malta and Gozo to complement the channel crossing service but stressed that “inter-island connectivity is to be continuously improved and sustained”.

Other Gozo Tourism Association 2023 Budget proposals:

  • Retain, improve and sustain the fast ferry service which can also assist in attracting to Gozo other niche tourists;
  • Building a fourth ferry identical to the existing ones to replace the Nikolaus;
  • Amend the PA Rural Policy to reflect the size of Gozo;
  • Formulate a specific Agri Business policy for Gozo;
  • Draw Planning Policies specifically for Gozo in consultation with Local Councils, the GRDA and other stakeholders;
  • Scrap the under-seabed tunnel project once and for all, as a first step to safeguard the Island’s character;
  • Ensure the enforcement of Marine Protected Areas around the Gozitan coast;
  • Ringfence the ECO contribution collected from Gozitan accommodation units to be invested in product upgrading;
  • Ensure and enforce the right of access to the diving sector for the shoreline on the North and North west of Gozo;
  • Fast track the amendments to the Tourism Act 1999 to reflect the new trends in tourism establishments;
  • Develop a water park and incorporate sports facilities in one holistic project at the Ta’ Xhajma Horse Race Complex;
  • Incentivise tour operators specialising in winter breaks and longer stays to market and sell Gozo for the November to April period;
  • Re-introduce the vouchers scheme for the domestic market covering the period November 2022 to March 2023;
  • Create, offer, support and entice new niches like adventure, activity, sports, walking, digital nomads and well-being;
  • Introduce a grant scheme for students who opt to work during the weekends or their holidays in Gozitan tourism establishments;
  • Organise courses targeting foreign employees to learn the basics of the Maltese and English Language, as well the history and culture of the Maltese Islands;
  • Set up training courses during the winter months aimed at improving knowledge and skills in the tourism industry to encourage the retention of employees during off-peak months, sustained through employer and employee full NI Credit for the duration of the courses;
  • Develop the ITS Gozo Campus into a specialised vocational tourism institution that caters not only for Gozitans but also for Maltese and foreign students who opt to follow specific courses;
  • Ensure that the Public Sector is not in competition with the Private Sector for the recruitment of employees by offering favourable and unmatchable working conditions.

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