84% of the Gozitan tourism sector foresees bleak future for tourism

MGOZ

84% of the Gozitan tourism sector is not too keen on the future of tourism in Gozo, as they believe that tourism will change for the worse once the Covid-19 pandemic passes, with fewer people travelling.

This is merely one of the results to have come out of the survey carried out by the Gozo Tourism Association amongst its members to obtain the views of the tourism sector, in order to formulate a wider response to the pandemic.

93% of Gozo businesses are currently locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst the other 7% are still managing to operate, for instance through take-away.

The response to this survey incorporated all the accommodation sectors, restaurants, diving centres, tourist attractions, transport, tour operators, DMCs, travel agencies and health retreats.

The lack of tourist’s demand is the biggest concern for respondents of this survey once this pandemic over. On the other hand, the financial costs, the payment of bills, the recruitment of staff, and the change which will be brought about in tourism are also of concern for the Gozitan tourism sector.

48% of the survey participants declared that they can financially resist the present Covid-19 situation for not more than 3 months. 32% stated that they can endure it for up to 6 months, whilst 20% indicated that they can stand the present situation for not more than 9 months.

When asked what type of tourists Gozo should attract after this pandemic, 43% opted for high-end quality tourists, and 57% opted for the average spending tourists. Those who filled in the survey believe that Gozo needs to continue being promoted through the online booking platforms, the individual websites and other social media. The rest are of the opinion that Gozo should also be marketed through the conventional tour operators and participation in international tourism fairs.

The tourism operators were also asked to list their preferences for infrastructural works that can be carried out in Gozo, during this period in the absence of foreign and domestic guests. The works needed most, according to the tourism sector, are the improvements in the road network, with the maintenance and upkeep of the touristic spots as their second preference. These preferences were followed by general cleanliness of the destination, new touristic projects and the upgrading of Gozo’s main beaches.

The tourism sector on Gozo is looking at these difficult times as a challenging phase. In fact, 72% of respondents are taking this period as an opportunity to upgrade the touristic product, while the rest of the participants are ready to invest in marketing and staff training.

With regards to the several schemes launched by Government to assist tourism establishments to mitigate the virus effect, 51% of the Gozitan tourism establishments stated that these measures were fair, while 22% considered them good, and 18% declared them as very good. On the other hand, 9% deemed these measures as insufficient.

The tourism operators in Gozo were also asked a specific question if they were satisfied with the banking facilities including loans, interest and moratoria. 45% responded that they did not avail themselves of any banking facilities. While 35% stated they were satisfied with their banker conditions, 20% said they are not happy at all with their bankers’ arrangements.

The survey further proposed a list of 5 measures and asked tourism operators to choose which of these they would like to see Government implementing. The first preference chosen by respondents was the waiving off of licenses for 2020 payable to MTA, REWS, Transport Malta and Lands Department. This measure was followed by financial assistance for the upgrade of tourism establishments and the reduction on VAT rate on accommodation and related tourist services.

The findings of this survey will be included in a report which the Gozo Tourism Association is compiling and which eventually be presented to the respective authorities.

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