Fears that Gozo will turn into another Malta in terms of construction and overdevelopment are a top priority for the sister island’s tourism operators, according to a survey carried out by the Gozo Tourism Association.
During the past two weeks, it conducted an online survey amongst members focusing on the touristic product and the constraints being encountered by the Gozitan tourism establishments during these recovery times from the covid pandemic.
Segments of Gozo’s tourism operators that were included in the survey are as follows: accommodation, restaurants, diving centres, tourist attractions, transport, tour operators, DMCs, travel agencies, real estate and tourism consultancy firms.
The survey confirmed that the tourism sector in Gozo is seriously concerned about the overdevelopment in Gozo. In fact, the absolute majority (100 per cent) of the establishments stated that Gozo is losing its charm and characteristics due to overdevelopment on the Island.
Furthermore, 91 per cent of the survey respondents declared that this development will deter tourists, both foreign and local, from visiting Gozo.
The respondents were also asked for their views on the general Gozitan touristic product. Again, a significant majority of 81 per cent of participants stated that the unfinished projects are giving a shabby look of the destination.
Furthermore, 62 per cent of participants, stated that the island needs a general clean up, recommending as well continuous maintenance of public places, playing fields, public gardens and green areas.
The tourism operators were also questioned about their respective individual product and if their establishment needs to be upgraded and improved to meet the current tourist expectations. More than half of those who responded this question (55 per cent) stated that their establishments need to be renovated and upgraded.
Moreover, a strong majority of 95 per cent of those who replied that their establishment needs upgrading, specified that they are not financially in a position to affect the necessary refurbishments and upgrades.
When asked about the increases in operating costs, 70 per cent of respondents declared their wage bill was the most impacted by these increases. Another 58 per cent indicated the increases in repairs and renewals, while 48 per cent reported that their food cost was impacted by the overall increases in operating costs.
In addition, 64 per cent of respondents declared that they had to adjust their selling prices and rates to cover these increases.
Another topic covered by this online survey was the shortage of human resources in the tourism sector on Gozo. When asked for proposals to mitigate the shortage of staff, 66 per cent of the respondents proposed the postponement of employment with the public sector, whilst 64 per cent suggested favourable tax incentives for employees in the tourism sector, and another 54 per ent suggested the fast track for work permits and visa applications for tourism employees. Finally, from this survey it transpired that 74 per cent of respondents do not have any security issues, while 55 per cent of respondents mostly from the resorts of Marsalfon and Xlendi pointed out the lack of parking spaces which is affecting their clientele.
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