Gozo Minister visits the opening of the 6th OTIE Summer School
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The sixth edition of the Gozo Summer School, organised by the Observatory on Tourism in the European Islands (OTIE), is currently underway at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), in Qala Gozo, until this Saturday.
This year the subject of the course is “Islands & Events: Economics and Management.”
The OTIE was founded in Palermo in February 2007,, where the Head Office is located. It’s a non-profit association, constituted by public institutions, Universities, Research Centres and other international organisations of 7 UE insular countries (Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus).
The ultimate goal of the organisation is that through continued dialogue and research, it offers solutions and actions to islands on the challenge of double insularity.
The Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana, addressed the opening of this year’s Summer School, when she welcomed the students to the island and said that she hoped that they would enjoy and experience Gozo’s island life while attending this seminar.
She explained how over the years, Gozitans have fought to overcome the challenges of double insularity and have managed to turn Gozo’s economic performance around, so that it now contributes fully to the local economy.
The Minister stressed that tourism remains one of the main pillars of the Gozitan economy. “Although the island is rich in history, which dates back centuries, and with natural beauty, it is imperative that tourists receives the highest level of service when visiting our island,” remarked Dr Caruana.
“This is what makes Gozo stand out as a different tourist destination from other competitors, which may also have similar attractions to offer. The tourism sector is highly volatile and therefore we must continue to constantly improve both the skills and the product on offer.”
Minister Caruana went on to say that, “this can be achieved by exploring new niches to address the desires and expectations of people who are looking for positive experiences.”
“It is therefore important to not only have continued research on existing products and on how to improve it, but also on indicators for new niches and sectors as we explore the island,” said Dr Caruana.
The Minister for Gozo also pointed out the importance of human resources, such as the continuous training of workers and all those directly and indirectly involved in the tourism industry.
She said that “by their nature Gozitans are very hospitable, and we should therefore capitalise on this unique characteristic, so that along with the environment, landscape and cultural heritage, we will continue to strengthen tourism and the economy in Gozo.”
The President of OTIE Professor Giovanni Ruggieri, also gave an address and said that Gozo has become a natural choice for the organisation when it comes to holding this type of event.
He explained how OTIE had received offers from other islands to host this seminar, but for the sixth consecutive year the choice was again Gozo, for its natural beauty and the charm of it citizens, making it a unique experience for everyone.