GTA praises ‘balanced’ budget
The Gozo Tourism Association believes that overall this is a balanced budget which also reflects the economical growth environment in various sectors including the tourism industry.
This year’s budget is once again emphasising the connectivity issues through the introduction of a fast ferry service between the two main islands, and the allocation of funds for the related technical and geological studies of the underseabed tunnel.
Another longed for connectivity is now being addressed, by the allocation of €3.2 million for a fibre optic link and a second fibre optic cable, between Malta and Gozo.
The Gozo Tourism Association positively notes the measures in this budget aimed towards the improvement of the touristic product and service. The announced schemes for the refurbishment of hotels and restaurants and the tax credits for those restaurants that engage chefs with international expertise, will both help improve the quality of the service and product.
In this respect, however the GTA also notes that the farmhouse product which is so predominant in the Gozitan accommodation sector was not included to benefit from this scheme.
Furthermore other projects mentioned in the budget like the building of the public swimming pool, the upgrading of St Francis Square, and the area leading to the parkings, the building of a new museum, as well as the upkeep of the Gozitan countryside are all measures that will continue enhancing the island’s touristic offer.
As mentioned in the Budget speech, the Gozo Tourism Association is also expecting that from the funds collected through the eco-contribution, embellishment projects are also carried out in Gozo, while representatives of the Gozitan tourism industry should also be part of the agency being set up to administer these funds.
On another note, the Gozo Tourism Association observes that there is no mention whatsoever in the budget speech on the green airfield, that last year’s budget (2016) contemplated an environmental impact study on a green airfield on Gozo.
Although there were other several budget measures proposed by the Gozo Tourism Association, and that were not catered for, especially those targeted to mitigate seasonality, however the association acknowledges that overall this budget promotes further economic growth.