A year on, Azure Window is missed, but Dwejra sorely needs government investment

A year on, Azure Window is missed, but Dwejra sorely needs government investment

Dwejra remains a top tourist attraction, San Lawrenz mayor insists

The Azure Window in all its glory.

The Azure Window in all its glory.

A year on since the landmark Azure Window disappeared deep into the seas, hardly anything has been done to preserve and promote the many other attractions of Dwejra, according to the San Lawrenz mayor.

Noel Formosa said he wept when It-Tieqa crashed into the sea after a section of its underwater pillar gave way in a savage storm in the early hours of March 8, 2017.

But he had been quick to say, at the time, that the Azure Window was only one element of Dwejra's attractions, and all was not lost.

Watch: The Azure Window is lost and gone forever

Twelve months on, he told Times of Malta he had not seen a perceptible drop in visitors. But he had also not seen any great improvement in the management of the site.

Dwejra hosts a wealth of attractions, including the idyllic inland sea, the Fungus Rock, the creek known to yachtsmen as il-port (the harbour), rare geological formations that draw American students to annual 'pilgrimages', a little-known year-round water stream (il-qattara), a coastal watch tower built by the knights, a spectacular seabed, varied flora and fauna, the vivid Blue Hole bathing attractions and a marine life exhibition centre. 

Fungus Rock in Dwejra.Fungus Rock in Dwejra.

What happened a year ago should have spurned the country to better manage and preserve Dwejra, Mr Formosa said.

Read: Dwejra’s other gems… and second window

This, after all, was a global attraction. The Azure Window was a centrepiece in Malta's tourism advertising, and the authorities should therefore be investing more in the upkeep of the whole area, he said. Investment, he stressed should be by the government to protect the site, and not by the private sector for profit purposes.  

He added that the management of the site needed to be focused and holistic. One should not need to go to countless people before getting something done.  

"We need proper management to incorporate the environment and human activities. We need consistent law enforcement, better organised parking and better regulation of hawkers, camping, sport and other activities on site, better cleanliness, action against light and sound pollution, regulation of other commercial activity, better management of marine activities... we also need to set up trekking routes with more information boards on the way." 

He said an environmental management committee set up in 2016 needed funds and tools, and the state should take the lead because this was a national treasure," Mr Formosa said.

He also complained that San Lawrenz local council, of which Dwejra forms part, was not being consulted enough on what needed to be done. 

"We would love to get our ideas across and see them through," he said.

Read: Proposals ‘under study’ to commemorate Gozo icon

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