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The Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) has welcomed the Government’s commitment towards more connectivity to Gozo with the introduction of an air link between the two islands, after Prime Minister Robert Abela spoke about it during a political activity in Gozo over the weekend.

The association noted that the connectivity infrastructure would not be taking up any agricultural land, and described it as “sustainable”.

It is acknowledged Government’s intent that the air link service would be carried out by the private sector.

The GTA said it “fully understands and is conscious that this project not only serves Gozo through better connectivity, but it will be the catalyst for the creation of new niches and new economic activities”.

The organisation also noted with satisfaction the Prime Minister’s announcement that Government is looking to introduce a new fourth Gozo Channel vessel which will be more environmentally friendly with lower emissions.

“These,” said the association, “are all significant steps towards inter-island connectivity, adding more improvements to Gozo’s accessibility.

“An all-year round island tourist destination, like Gozo, can only be sellable if there are reliable, consistent, effective, and cost sensitive types of connectivity from and to the mainland and from the outside world.”

Finally, the GTA also expressed its satisfaction that one of its connectivity measures proposed along the years is on the course to be realised.

Only this year, both in March and in its Budget 2022 proposals, the GTA called for the air link to be given priority.

In June, an aviation industry insider told BusinessNow.mt that any discussion of an air link needs to be considered in the wider discussion of what economic path Gozo will pusure.

“If Gozo adopts a strategic plan to bring itself to upmarket levels,” he said, “then the economic and environmental costs of a hard runway can be offset by greater business of high-end travel.”

“However, if it remains dedicated to cheap tourism, there is simply no reason to expect that such a runway would be used enough to justify its cost.”

He added that Gozo’s tourism prospects would be best served if the rampant overdevelopment that characterises the island is brought under control.

“The island is being made ugly to those who would be served by a hard runway. That’s why holistic planning is a must.”

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