Gozo getting what it deserves
The nature of men (and women) is such that the more he consumes, the more he wants. We can witness this fact in everyday life. Once a pressing need is satisfied, another one kicks in. Once a target is reached, a new objective is set.
A few years ago, the focus of most of our discussion was on the need to revitalize the tourism sector. It was a sector undergoing a persistent contraction with jobs and investment declining year after year. Gozitans were worried about the complete lack of foreign investment. They were concerned that employment opportunities in Gozo were at such a premium that a Gozitan working in Gozo was prepared to receive lower salary compared to someone doing the same work on the main island.
Today we have a year-long booming tourist industry. After decades, important investment was attracted to different sectors while employment is recording robust growth.
Now that we have addressed the most pressing of issues, this administration can start looking at other important needs that for many years worried Gozitans but unfortunately have always remained unaddressed by previous administrations. One of these was the need to have proper all-year-round swimming facilities.
The plea to have proper swimming pool facilities in Gozo was primarily pushed forward by the Otters Water polo Club, which year after year has lobbied for this natatorium. Prior to this administration, they were either ignored or promised things that were never delivered. This administration prides itself on doing things differently, and I can happily state that their needs too will be addressed. A couple of weeks ago, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a proper natatorium. The main pool is expected to be 33.3 metres long and 20 metres wide, large enough to be used for water polo matches and swimming lessons. It is also expected to have a 400-seat stand. There will also be a second pool 10 metres long and 5 metres wide that can be used for rehabilitation purposes.
This government takes a holistic approach to any proposed project and makes every effort possible to maximize the use of its resources. In line with this, the government will be reserving both pools for a set number of hours each week, allowing Gozitan schoolchildren to use the larger pool as part of their physical education lessons. These facilities will also be used by people with disability or in need of rehabilitation services.
We believe that beyond the social, educational and sports benefits, this project will also have a positive impact on the economy. It will help foster new demands for sport tourism in Gozo and this, together with other projects that are still in the pipeline, will create an environment conductive to support this niche industry.
This follows several important achievements which we already attained during the last three years. A case in point is the Gozo Sports Festival, which has attracted more than 12,000 visitors to Gozo. This outstanding festival was short-listed and won the Global Sports Tourism Summit. It helped to further highlight the success that Gozo is achieving in promoting this unique niche market.
Step by step, this administration is delivering on all its promises and looks forward to reaching its next goals.