A positive budget overall, promoting further economic growth – GTA
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“Overall this is a positive budget which reflects the economical growth environment in various sectors, including the tourism industry, ” said the Gozo Tourism Association on last night’s budget speech.
“It is also a progressive and forward looking budget, that continues to create the right climate for a sustainable stronger economic future for the Maltese Islands.”
The GTA added that it welcomes the announcement of a scheme for the refurbishment and upgrading of the Gozitan tourism establishments, improving the quality of the island’s tourism product. “This was one of the proposed measures by the Gozo Tourism Association,” it said.
The Association pointed out that this year’s budget is once again mentioning that works will commence during 2018 on a fibre optic link and a second fibre optic cable, between Malta and Gozo.
“The related technical and geological studies of the underseabed tunnel, will continue during the course of next year,” the GTA noted.
The GTA said that also on a positive note, were the number of infrastructural projects contemplated in the 2018 Budget. These include a desalination plant at Hondoq ir-Rummien, the ICT and Research hub in Xewkija, investment in the Gozo General Hospital, and the holistic embellishment master plan for both Xlendi and Marsalforn.
“These are all projects, contemplated in this budget aimed towards a better quality of life, as well as improvement of the touristic product and service,” remarked the GTA.
It added that other initiatives aimed at improving the touristic offer on Gozo were mentioned, including thematic cultural festivals, the restoration of the Ta’ Gordan Lighthouse, as well as the re-organisation of the Mgarr Yacht Marina.
Fiscal measures that will continue to stimulate economic growth on Gozo were in the Budget, the Association said. Such as the extension for another year of the reduction from 5% to 2% of the stamp duty on property purchased on Gozo, the increase in assistance up to €70,000 in the Micro invest scheme for businesses on Gozo, and the refund of 30% of the minimum wage capped at €6000, for every new employee, engaged on a three year contract.
The Gozo Tourism Association pointed out however, that there is no mention whatsoever in this year’s budget speech on the green airfield, that previous budgets contemplated, also an environmental impact study on a green airfield on Gozo.
The GTA concluded by saying that, “although there were several other budget measures proposed by the Gozo Tourism Association, and that were not catered for, especially those targeted to mitigate seasonality and connectivity, the Association acknowledges that overall this budget promotes further economic growth also on the sister island.”
Photograph by Mario Xerri