Business in Gozo down in first quarter of 2011 – GBC survey

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Business survey for GBC shows fall in Gozo in first quarterIn the first quarter of 2011 the businesses in Gozo registered a drop in business when compared to the same period last year.

This results from a survey carried out by the Gozo Business Chamber (GBC)among all sectors of the Gozo business community covering sectors in the wholesale and retail, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels, financial and other professional services spread out all over Gozo.

The respondents indicated that the number of person employed during this period remained the same in 77% of the businesses, increased in 13% and decreased in 10%.

According to the replies received, the larger part of the business was carried out with Gozitan customers (65%), followed by Maltese visitors (18%) and tourists (16%).

With regards to business return, 59% said that they were operating on a break even situation, while 31% said that they were operating at a profit and 10% operating at a loss.

The survey asked for reasons that the businessmen thought could help their enterprise during the period under review. Most of them mentioned the good services of transport between Malta and Gozo, followed by the activities organised by local councils and others during the weekends, while a small number mentioned the parking places availability and good road signage.

On the other hand, the factors which the businessmen thought might have hindered their enterprise and resulted in less turnover than last year’s period were, in order of preference, high water and electricity bills, lack of parking spaces and traffic congested roads, high prices, the attitude of traffic wardens, useless waiting time for visitors to cross over from Malta to Gozo, approval for applications for EU funds, and suitable employees.

Prospects for the coming months indicate that 56% of businesses think that demand for their services is to remain the same while 33% think that it is to decrease and only 11% think that there will be a greater demand.

Regarding the number of employees, 89% of enterprises are thinking that they will keep the same number while 11% think that their workforce will decrease. None indicated that their workforce will increase.

The survey also asked whether respondents are in agreement or not with the idea of a permanent link between Gozo and Malta. 81% consider this as a high priority measure and are in agreement while 19% are against.

While 7% of respondents said that they have applied for and/or participated in a project connected with Eco Gozo, 93% said that they did not. 72% said that they have not benefited from EU funds.

Suggestions made by respondents to help businesses to operate from Gozo included the importance of keeping young workers in Gozo; help in costs of inter-island transport; less beauracracy; more routes by Air Malta; building a permanent link; less taxes; control of the cost of living; factual projects instead of talk only; cheap night ferry-crossings; control of mobile kiosks; just competition; MEPA permits; and real help and support to the crafts village. Other suggestions also included the need to bring more tourists to Gozo.

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