An Airstrip for Gozo? – The Gozo Business Chamber

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An Airstrip for Gozo? - Gozo Business ChamberShould Gozo have an airstrip? This question was brought up, once again, by the Hon. Dr. Mario De Marco, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, the Environment and Culture, during a recent conference on "Innovation in Island Tourism" organised by the GRTU. The business community in Gozo as well as representatives from other walks of life, have voiced their opinion in favour of the project.

The President of the Gozo Business Chamber, who attended the conference, said in his intervention that this is a question of "when" and not of "if". The GBC, together with other regional bodies, has been stating for a long time the project is long overdue and that our island needs this vital air link to offer better direct means of communication with Malta International Airport (MIA). This will translate Gozo ‘s dream of being sold as a distinct destination into a reality. Besides other benefits, a direct link will boost foreign direct investment in Gozo.

At a conference on European and Malta Attractiveness Surveys 2009, organised by Ernst & Young, it was pointed out that a survey among 101 foreign investors who were asked whether their company considered investing in Gozo, the replies were 91% ‘No’, 8% ‘Yes’, and 1% ‘Can’t Say’. The foremost reason quoted for not investing in Gozo was the missing air link which means "more travel times and costs" and that "clients coming from abroad would be reluctant to travel to Gozo for a meeting".

Another survey conducted by the NSO (Jan 2010) ‘Tourist Statistical Review’ clearly shows that Gozo only enjoys 3.8% of all inbound tourists to Malta in winter. Gozo surely deserves a better share to encourage business opportunities to flourish and sustain the present infrastructure. We all know that Gozo, much more than Malta, suffers from erratic cycles of high traffic between the islands in the summer months and long weekends and very low traffic in the shoulder and lean months which create an economic vacuum in between.

The GBC believes that the airstrip is not the only project that Gozitans are longing for. However, it will surely contribute to the growth of tourism and economic prosperity.

Gozo Business Chamber

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    4 Responses

    1. Tony Stivala says:

      The Gozo Business Chamber has to stop thinking of itself or the few people that want the airstrip or the few that do not want it.

      The fairest way of doing this is to ask the Gozitans and I do not mean via a poll in any website or media. If they are serious about it then they ought to go to every household with a survey in all of Gozo and ask them for their opinion

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      So there you have it folks, the Gozo Business Chamber have spoken and as usual spoken a load of garbage. When are these people going to stop speaking on my behalf? I’m a tourist and I can assure you I can speak quite well for myself. I come to Gozo every year because of the peace and quiet the island offers. The last thing I want is planes taking off and landing all day. What sort of holiday would that be? Given the size of the island this would be like taking a holiday on the edge of an airstrip.

      Don’t let these people fool you into thinking they are proposing this in the name of the Gozitan people or in the name of tourism because they are not. They want an airstrip on Gozo for purely financial reasons; their own finances not yours. Many of them will have their own private little toys, which they want to land on Gozo and of course there is all the money to be made from such a venture. The fact that it will end up ruining Gozo as a tourist destination doesn’t concern them!

      According to the GBC 101 foreign investors have refused to invest in Gozo because it doesn’t have an air link. I would therefore call on the GBC to publish details of the 101 foreign investors they are referring to here complete with details of the survey for all to read. The fact that Gozo is losing out in the tourist sector is down to an inefficient ministry and an even more inefficient tourist authority. Gozo needs to play to it’s strengths not weaken itself further by destroying the very thing which attracts tourists.

    3. Lesley Kreupl says:

      If the GBC, tourist association and the Ministry for Gozo are serious about improving Gozo, then the last thing that the island needs are small aircraft buzzing around. One might notice the large airliners that fly over Gozo from time to time as a low noise, however, the small aircraft which buzz around in circles are very irritating indeed. The seaplane swooping and snooping around several times a day is enough to drive one crazy!

      The only way to get more tourists to come to Gozo is to focus on its natural resources. Has the Minister for Gozo or any members of the tourist association ever walked around the island? Have they ever explored any of the archaeological sites, especially those which have not been commercialized? Obviously not!

      Are they aware that there are thousands and thousands of people living in the EU who just love to go walking, and pay a lot of money to do so? A combined walking and archaeological tour could put this island on the map. Good marketing and well organized and maintained routes are all that is necessary, not billion dollar bridges or tunnels or an airstrip which would probably scare most people away!

    4. Lori Keir says:

      The GBC states “A direct link will boost foreign direct investment in Gozo.” Might I ask how much of Gozo are we willing to sell off to foreign investors? Do you really want Gozo to be locked up and managed by foreign investors?

      The argument of Gozo missing out on the business client market is ludicrous. My husband and I frequently travel to professional meetings and I can assure you it is rare for these meeting attendees to venture outside of the meeting environment. Usually, any free time during the meeting is spent networking with other professionals at the meeting facility or, in the event they leave the site, it is on an organized tour. So then the question is which few tourist destinations will benefit from these prearranged tours? The meeting attendees will not be heading out on their own, spreading their good fortune with all of Gozo.

      If you want to increase tourism here on Gozo the answer is in preserving and enhancing what already exists here. Gozo is often referred to as “the island of tranquility.” Does anyone truly think an airstrip will enhance that tranquility?

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