Another eco-Gozo proposal underway
The Ministry for Gozo is participating in a new EU-funded project which aims at helping regional authorities across Europe to develop policies which promote the further development of the eco-accommodation sector and the attractiveness of Rural territories for tourism purposes.
This project, entitled "Innovative Concept of Eco-accommodation approach in rural Regions: Public support policies for eco-investors" (Acronym: ICER) is financed under the INTERREG IVC Programme which forms part of European Regional Development Fund for a total funding of ¬ 1.4 million Euro. The project partnership is composed of rural authorities from France, Slovenia, Spain, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Malta.
Among others, the project will seek to analyse tourism development strategies for these regions, concrete policies for Sustainable Development, labelling polices, marketing tools, best practices in each region, and public policy support to private investment.
During the launch of the first project event being held in Gozo, the Hon Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo welcomed the project partners to Gozo and said that this project will result in the implementation of a proposal included in the Eco-Gozo action plan for the years 2010-2012 the development of regional Agro- and Eco-tourism policies specific for Gozo.
Minister Debono stated that action on the implementation of this strategy has started in earnest with ongoing projects ranging from planting of more trees, ecological restoration, increasing the capacity for the storage of rainwater, the creation of a new Research, Development and Innovation Centre for Agriculture, Educational programmes in schools, research and conservation of our genetic resources, education on healthy lifestyles, development of the island's human resource, and increasing renewable energy infrastructure, among others.
She added that the ICER Project will help the Ministry for Gozo ensure that the tourism sector particularly the accommodation sector will be fully involved in bringing about the change that the eco-island project requires. It will also help in devising new policies for agro-tourism and eco-tourism on the island. ICER will assist the Ministry in selling Gozo as an eco-island.
She also acknowledged that in order to be effective, this process needs to involve both public and private stakeholders in order to arrive to tangible and realistic solutions which could be implemented.