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During the peak summer months the Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) conducted a survey amongst the diving tourists in the various Gozitan tourist resorts. The questions asked in this survey were related to the various aspects affecting the Gozitan diving sector, including the divers nationality, the type of accommodation used by divers, their length of stay, and their favourite dive sites . This survey, covered also, the influential means that enticed divers to visit Gozo, the diving holiday booking arrangements, if the divers were repeat visitors, and how divers rate the services at their dive shop. The divers were also asked how do they qualify the facilities on the Gozitan Dive site, and what type of improvements they suggest at the Dive sites. Finally Divers were also asked if they would recommend Gozo to their friends and relatives.
It resulted that 34.5% of the divers interviewed were English, followed by the Germans 22%, the French 13.6%, and the Italians 8%. The Dutch counts for 5% of the divers on Gozo, surprisingly followed by the Polish divers at 4%. The remaining 12% were divers coming from various countries in Europe and around the Globe such as, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Austria, Sweden, Portugal, Australia and the United States of America.
The divers said in the survery that the preferred type of accommodation on Gozo is the apartments which represented 59% of those interviewed, while 16.6% prefer to stay in a four star hotel on Gozo. The third preferred diving accommodation is in the Gozo Farmhouse at 12.3%, while almost 6% prefer the three star Hotels. The remaining 6% opted for other types of accommodation, while it transpired that none of those interviewed chose any of the 5 star hotels.
Another interesting data from this survey was the divers stay duration. Almost 26% of the divers stated that their length of stay was more then 14 nights, while another good percentage of 53% declared that their holiday length of stay was between 9 and 14 nights. 20% opted for a holiday ranging between 5 to 8 nights, while less then 2% came to Gozo for 1 to 4 nights. When asked if this was their first visit to Gozo, 36% replied that this was their first experience to Gozo, while the remaining majority of 64% answered that they were repeat divers to the Island of Gozo. It is a known fact that divers are usually accompanied by other divers and this was confirmed by the fact that almost 68% replied that on this visit to Gozo were accompanied by other divers, while the remaining 32% were accompanied by non-divers.
This survey also confirmed that the internet is a strong booking tool, since almost 72% of the divers, booked their diving holiday to Gozo through internet, while 25% opted to book through a tour operator, with the remaining 3% using other means of bookings. When asked which was the most influential means on which they decided to come to Gozo, 41% declared that it was the recommendations by their friends and relatives. Previous visit/s represents 15.5% of the divers, while 26% confirmed that it was internet surfing that influenced their choice of Gozo. Other influential means were travel guides 8%, tour operator brochures 7%, TV advert 0 .62% and newspaper /magazine article or advert 0.62%.
The Blue Hole at Dwejra was ranked as the most favourite dive site by 30% of respondents, followed by Reqqa Point (off Xwejni) by almost 15%. Imgarr ix-Xini and the Double Arches (off Xwejni) are two of the favourite dive sites preferred by almost 10% of the divers, followed closely by the Inland Sea (Dwejra) 8% and Comino Caves 6%. Other favourite Gozitan dive sites mentioned by the interviewed divers were Xlendi 3.8%, San Dimitri and Ix-Xatt l-Ahmar 3.5%, Crocodile rock (Dwejra) 3.2%, Cathedral Cave (Wied l- Ghasri) 2.65%, and Xwejni, Ras il-Hobz, and P29 wreck (Cirkewwa) 1.48%.
62% of respondents termed the service of their diving centre, during their stay as ‘very good,’ while 36.% of the divers qualified the service received at the Dive Centre as ‘Good.’ Few respondents, representing 2 % of those interviewed, declared that the dive centre service was ‘fair,’ while none stated that it was ‘bad.’
When asked how do they rate the facilities at the dive Sites, 58% declared that these were good, while 20.5% termed the facilities as very good. Only 2% termed facilities at the dive sites as bad, while 19% qualified the facilities as fair. The most recommended suggestions by the divers to enhance the facilities on the dive sites were toilets and better road access with an equal score of 26%, while 22.5% suggested showers and 15.6% asked for more steps and ladders on the dive sites. Other suggested improvements on the dive sites included Parking facilities 3%, ropes and railings 2%, shade 2% and changing rooms 2%.
Finally the overwhelming majority of the divers interviewed 99.3% stated that they would definetly recommend Gozo as diving destination to their friends and relatives.
The GTA thanked the Gozitan diving centres who collaborated during the data collection of this August survey and said that it intends to hold such surveys in different periods during the year in order to get a wider picture of prevailing trends within the Gozitan diving scenario.