Rural tourism increases job opportunities in Gozo

Rural tourism increases job opportunities in GozoRural tourism in Gozo is amongst the agents for increased work opportunities for youths and other workers in Gozo.  Such  niche touristic opportunities  are attracting more visitors to   Gozo, further enhancing  the islands economic development . The  Hon Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo explained the importance of rural tourism for Gozo during the opening session of the conference held in Gozo as part of the project Innovative Concept of Eco-Accommodation Approach in Rural Regions (ICER).  Minister Debono explained how diving in Gozo has become a specific tourist niche.  The diving sector is being strengthened also because  Government invested, amongst many things, in the installation of a water sewage treatment plant.  It it thanks to our plan for sustainability that today we have people working directly in the tourism industry, said  the Minister for Gozo.

The ICER project, has brought to Gozo  an investment of ¬1.8m, which is being co-financed by the Interreg IVC Program from the European Regional Development Fund. Minister Debono announced that it is expected to be concluded this year.

This project has the aim to propose recommendations for the strengthening of the political regions with a special focus on the development of rural tourism.  Such work is inline with the European Union policies on rural progress built on the economic, environmental and social sustainable development.  Gozo is participating along with other entities coming from different regions in France, Ireland, Hungary, Estonia, Finland and Italy.

This conference held in Gozo was one of the activities organised by the participating regions.  Through these activities various participants from different countries are contributing with their experience in finalising  a document which will include recommendations based on the highlights of the practices adopted by each respective region.  The document will have the scope to create potential job opportunities while generating economic activity in these rural zones.

The Minister for Gozo expressed her satisfaction at those tourist related establishments who have diversified their services by taking up initiatives which will eventually make part of the best practices in the final document.  Amongst these are ancillary services offered in rural accommodation which is being instrumental in the creation of jobs related to health and beauty services.  Another service promoted is that of culinary lectures on traditional Gozitan cooking using only local produce.

Minister Giovanna Debono explained how the ecoGozo action plan incorporates measures that sustain the rural tourism sector in Gozo which can offer a lot to the Gozitan community.  It  also gives an added value to Gozos participation in this project.

This conference was addressed from various representatives from participating countries who spoke of their respective experience in this project. During the conference, information on four good practises related to Gozos touristic sector was presented to all those present.  These will form part of the Gozitan recommendations in the final document.