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Tourism operators in Gozo fear the island is losing its charm. File photo of Marsalforn by Darrin Zammit Lupi

Overdeveloped, shabby, dirty: Gozo is losing its charm, tourism operators fear

Half of survey participants: our establishment needs upgrade but we lack funds

All of the Gozo Tourism Association members who participated in an online survey over the past two weeks believe the island is losing its charm and characteristics to overdevelopment.

Furthermore, 91% of the survey respondents said this development will deter foreign and local tourists from visiting Gozo.

Operators that participated in the survey hailed from the accommodation, catering, diving, attractions, transport, tours and real estate sectors and also destination management companies, travel agencies and tourism consultancy firms.

The survey confirmed the tourism sector in Gozo is seriously concerned about the over development in Gozo,” the association said in a statement.

Among others, a significant majority of 81% of participants believe unfinished projects are providing “a shabby look of the destination”.

And 62% of participants agreed that the island needed a general clean-up, recommending as well continuous maintenance of public places, playing fields, public gardens and green areas.

In need of renovation but lacking funds

More than half of respondents meanwhile said their establishments need to be renovated and upgraded.

However 95% of these said they were not financially in a position to carry out the necessary refurbishment.

Asked about increasing operating costs, 70% of operators said the biggest increase that they have suffered is an increase in their employees’ salaries.

Some 58% indicated increases in repairs and renewals, while 48% reported that their food cost was impacted by the overall increases in operating costs.

And 64% of respondents said they had to adjust their selling prices and rates to cover these increases.

Shortage of human resources

In a bid to address the shortage of human resources within the tourism sector, participants were asked for their proposals.

64% suggested favourable tax incentives for employees in the tourism sector and another 54% suggested a fast track for work permits and visa applications for tourism employees.

Article source: Times of Malta