Ministry for Gozo’s commitment to quality beaches in Gozo – Minister
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The Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo has visited Marsalforn and Hondoq ir-Rummien beaches, both of which now, for the first time, “are being managed more carefully to meet the established quality criteria for beaches.”
Also present was Paul Bugeja, CEO of the MTA, who said that although the work of the Authority is mainly one of advertising (marketing) abroad, the MTA also takes an interest in local areas and always looks to see how to improve the tourist product.
The Authority started looking at beach management in 2004, after the beach replenishment project in St Julians. Mr Bugeja added it is now in the situation where the number of beaches managed by the MTA has increased to twelve. This year, following discussions between the respective Ministries and the Authority, it was decided to make a concerted effort to improve this situation. Mr Bugeja said he is pleased that this year management is ongoing for the beaches of Marsalforn and Hondoq ir-Rummien, as well as an increase in the operations undertaken at Comino.
He explained that this was made possible as a result of the cooperation between entities, the substantial financial assistance of more than 100,000 euros, and technical know-how provided by the Authority, together with the participation of other organisations involved.
Mr Bugeja also reiterated that it is not just a one-off plan, but a project aimed at continuing in the coming years, with a view to improving the tourist product in both Gozo and Comino.
Philip Vella, President of the Emergency Response Rescue Corps. of Gozo, said the beaches in Gozo are the core of the economic growth of the island. “These last two years, the Ministry for Gozo together with the MTA, have been taking all the necessary action so that the beaches are kept in a good state.”
“The ERRC is operating professionally and responsibly for the Gozitan and Maltese families, as well as tourists who come for their holiday to the island, meaning that they are more reassured and can relax in a safer environment.”
The ERRC thanked the MTA and the Ministry for Gozo, as well as to all those volunteers who sacrifice their time for others, enabling them to enjoy some fun in safety. “The Association continues to make a name for Gozo, and in the coming days it will be organising more activities to help to educate the public on what would happen in the case of an accident.”
The Minister for Gozo said that he believes that the beaches of our country have a very important role in the tourism sector in Gozo. “Any positive result obtained in the tourism sector will help to boost the country’s economy.”
Dr Refalo added that this feature “offers new challenges while also bringing more responsibility to not only take care of what we have, but also strive to continue to improve the surrounding environment.”
The Ministry for Gozo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and the MTA, is taking this initiative in order that more beaches in Gozo meet the established quality criteria, The Minister said.
These criteria include good water quality, management of the surrounding environment, first aid services, safety zones and supervision, as well as further education and information on the beaches.
“This is a holistic plan which aims to meet further the criteria of sustainable development, and therefore reinforces the concept of establishing Gozo as an ecological island,” Dr Refalo concluded.
Photographs: MGOZ/George Scerri