Is Hondoq a Political Hot Potato? – Readers Letter
|Email item||Print item||
“Both parties have been ominously quiet on the Hondoq issue. Is this because with only 1580 votes separating the parties at the last election, the 1000’s of voters who are against the Hondoq development, and other environmental issues, pose a serious threat at the upcoming election?
In their recent visits to Gozo, Muscat talked of the recovery of existing hotels, whereas Gonzi talked of building new 5 star hotels. What will happen to the existing hotels which are already struggling and being converted into yet more apartments? 5 star hotels require 5 star locations, which will inevitably destroy the beauty spots that tourists come to Gozo to enjoy.
The National Statistics Office show that 3 star hotels have had consistently higher occupancy rates than 4&5 star hotels for 22 out of the last 24 months. This strongly suggests that the tourists visiting Gozo prefer mid-range hotels, not 5 star resorts. With average occupancy over the last year being about 45% for 4&5 star hotels and 55% for 3 star hotels, surely one should be looking at ways of increasing the clientele for existing hotels, not increasing their competition.
Interestingly, during Gonzi’s trip to Gozo last week, no mention was made of the failed Mgarr, Andar, and Atlantis Hotels which were knocked down to make apartments. Nor was it mentioned that part of the Kempinski Hotel, which Gonzi was visiting, was also knocked down to make apartments.
As to the creation of a tourist village at Hondoq, the country already has an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 empty properties. Many of these unsold properties are still being accepted by banks as collateral for loans to build yet more apartments, destroying yet more virgin land.
When does it end? What are the long term financial consequences for the country when the construction industry accounts for 12% of the loans, but 41% of non-performing loans, and the banks are having to reschedule their repayments over longer periods?
The Government should concentrate on job diversification, not appeasing developers, and they should look at ways of dealing with the vast over supply of properties which already exist, instead of allowing Hondoq to be destroyed.”