An airstrip in Gozo would contribute to the growth of tourism and economic prosperity, the Gozo Business Chamber said in a statement.

Pointing out that the issue of whether or not Gozo should have an airstrip was brought up by Tourism Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco at a recent conference, the chamber said that during the same conference its president pointed out that the airstrip was not a matter of if but when.

“The GBC, together with other regional bodies, has been stating for a long time the project is long overdue and that our island needs this vital air link to offer better direct means of communication with Malta International Airport.

“This will translate Gozo’s dream of being sold as a distinct destination into a reality. Besides other benefits, a direct link will boost foreign direct investment in Gozo.”

Most, 91 per cent, of the respondents in a survey among 101 foreign investors who were asked whether their company considered investing in Gozo said no and the foremost reason was the missing air link which meant more travel times and costs and that clients would be reluctant to travel to Gozo for a meeting.

The GBC said that the NSO Tourist Statistical Review, published in January, clearly showed that Gozo only enjoys 3.8 per cent of all inbound tourists to Malta in winter.

“Gozo surely deserves a better share to encourage business opportunities to flourish and sustain the present infrastructure.

“We all know that Gozo, much more than Malta, suffers from erratic cycles of high traffic between the islands in the summer months and long weekends and very low traffic in the shoulder and lean months which create an economic vacuum in between.

“The GBC believes that the airstrip is not the only project that Gozitans are longing for. However, it will surely contribute to the growth of tourism and economic prosperity,” it said.

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