On Thursday (today), the Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) expressed its worries over a recently approved development in close proximity to the Ġgantija Temples, in Xagħra.

“Gozo’s rich historical heritage depends on our ability to maintain our distinctiveness and unique identity. Maintaining our cultural and historical heritage is beyond any price,” the association commented.

Earlier this month, the Planning Authority (PA) approved a 22-apartment block of flats and 20 basement garages near the world heritage site in Gozo, ignoring UNESCO’s request for a heritage impact assessment. The development is proposed to be less than 200 metres away from the temples and only one person voted against the approval, with seven in favour.

It was reported that the PA had considered what the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Technical Committee had said. They “had no objection to the volume and massing of the building as proposed in the latest drawings.”

“Our island’s history is one of the unique selling propositions of Gozo. In our participation in various international tourism fairs, the association heralds the Ġgantija Temples as the flagship of our history and heritage,” remarked the GTA.

Both for the sake of the preservation of its historical heritage for the future generations of our islands, as well as in its vested capacities of a unique tourism destination, the GTA says that Gozo cannot afford “to jeopardise such a unique heritage site.”

In addition, the association remarked that as an island and a nation, “we must conserve and safeguard such incomparable treasures.” As a nation, the GTA expressed, “we are duty-bound to protect” the World Heritage Site on a national and international level.  

The association explained that it is not against development, but as “reiterated often” and as highlighted in its Budget 2024 proposals, “development in Gozo should respect and protect the characteristics on which our tourism industry is built. The protection of our heritage and environment signifies and ensures that Gozo will be an island where islanders live, work, and prosper within a strong thriving, healthy community.”

Ultimately, the association remarked, Gozo has a diverse and extremely rich historical heritage, which is a source of pride and strength to so many Islanders “who have always looked at our heritage for inspiration, communication and the opportunity to develop.”

Featured Image:

Gozo Tourism Association

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