2007 was the best year for tourism in Gozo – Minister for Gozo
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Figures released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) for tourist arrivals and bed nights for January to October 2007 indicate that last year was the best in years for Gozo. This was said yesterday by the Hon. Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo during her address at the Gozo Tourism Association’s (GTA) Annual General Meeting.
Minister Debono quoted figures released by the NSO for the ten-month period January-October 2007 and said that when compared to the same period in 2003, Gozo registered an increase of 11,300 tourists and an increase of 20,200 bed nights. These figures are considered to be conservative since they only include data from hotels and guesthouses and exclude activity within the equally important self-catering segment. January to October 2007 registered the highest figures for the same ten-month period not only when compared to 2003, but also when compared to 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Minister Debono said that such figures prove that Government’s investment in the tourism industry, together with the synergy created with the GTA, is yielding positive results. Government acknowledged and addressed the particular needs of the tourism industry on Gozo with an important and strategic policy of treating and marketing Gozo as a distinct tourist destination all year round. She referred to projects and initiatives that were carried out recently by the Ministry for Gozo to upgrade and improve ‘Product Gozo’, as well as initiatives taken by Government to enhance accessibility to Gozo. Minister Debono referred to the impact that low-cost airlines made to the tourism industry on a national level, as well as the effect that such an introduction together with the new transport service connecting the Malta International Airport to ?irkewwa, made on tourism to Gozo.
Referring to marketing and the domestic tourism market, Minister Debono said that Government’s strategy in this regard has yielded positive results. Minister Debono spoke about several initiatives that helped increase both domestic tourism arrivals and number of nights spent, including the introduction of the popular Let’s Gozo magazine, the several Gozo Channel Co Ltd schemes, and the Gozo Attractions Incentive Scheme launched through a collaboration of the Ministry for Gozo and the Ministry of Finance to financially assist the organisation of cultural and entertaining events.
Minister Debono thanked the outgoing GTA council for the services rendered by all members during the last year and expressed trust that the new council will continue to live up to its recognition as the valid representative of the tourism industry in Gozo. The GTA is yearly given financial contribution by the Ministry for Gozo for its day-to-day operation and to participate in foreign trade fairs to promote Gozo as a tourism destination.