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Gozo saltpans


Strategy 2
To continue to position Gozo as a separate and distinct quality destination focusing on relaxation, wellness, gastronomy, active and rural tourism experiences in a lower volume setting and an insularity which is projected as a beneficial selling point rather than a deficiency. To do this in conjunction with the Gozo Regional Development Authority and the Gozitan tourism stakeholders.


For many years, Gozo was positioned as a quaint extension of the mainland: a smaller, quieter destination with a limited offer, attractive mostly to day trippers or to a narrow cohort of tourists with very specific needs. As a result, the island ended up with a high ratio of high-volume/low-return day trip type of visitor and a low ratio share of seasonal, older, loyal, narrow-intent type of tourist. To this was added the significant domestic market from the main island with its obvious peaks and shorter durations.

This status quo ensured that for a long time Gozo developed a very high level of dependence on
tourism originating from the main island whilst only being known to a very narrow sliver of the overseas travel market. As a result, this status quo ensured that Gozo remained totally secondary to Malta: a detached extension which presented more logistical difficulties rather than advantages and whose major contribution in terms of receptive capacity was to provide a peak season safety valve for when
accommodation on the main island was taken up.

In a paradoxical way, those elements of Gozo’s holiday experience which are today identified as forming the foundations of its updated approach to tourism were traditionally perceived as negative. Thus, double insularity, a more tangible link to nature and the outdoors, less crowds and an overall quieter destination were originally seen as factors with which to castigate the island: factors which made Gozo less attractive, less feasible, less likely to receive increased numbers of tourists.

Multiple chicken and egg situations developed: ferry facilities and services could not be extended unless tourism grew but tourism could not grow without such extensions. Establishments could not operate twelve months a year unless critical masses of volume were reached but such critical masses could never be reached unless capacity was operable all year round.

Furthermore, as long as Gozo continued to depend on Malta filling up first, it was always going to be a difficult challenge for the island to develop its own tourism by shedding its safety valve label. The last two decades have revolutionized tourism and most of the changes that have taken place have been to Gozo’s benefit. The reduction of traditional tour operators’ original strength, the aviation revolution which stimulated huge increases in affordable, impulse travel, the advent of the web and its implications on information, booking, sales, revenue and widespread dissemination of video imagery have enabled Gozo to start the process of standing alone.

The island’s operating season has been extended and its accommodation profile has adapted to the  peer-to-peer phenomenon. The operators of the island’s receptive capacity are very internet savvy and maintain an active online presence. Connectivity, both in terms of facilities and in terms of services has made rapid strides forward while the generation of higher visitor numbers had a huge positive effect on the operational philosophy of the Gozitan tourism industry.

In spite of the all too obvious list of setbacks which COVID-19 wrought and continues to wreak on global tourism, a phenomenon from which Gozo has obviously not been spared, the advent of the so-called “new normal” version of tourism which is expected  to prevail in a post-COVID-19 scenario stand to present a number of beneficial opportunities to Gozo if its tourism direction adapts to such new realities.

“New normal” tourism is expected to place more importance on less crowded, safer, more hygienic destinations. Apart from the direct changes brought about by the pandemic, other events of a global bearing such as climate change and the creeping threat of emerging antagonistic political-economic power blocs will also create a huge demand for destinations bearing attributes which come naturally to Gozo too: safety, luxury, adventure sustainability, hospitality, authenticity, character, purity, closeness with nature, tradition, food, history and culture, relaxation, lower density and value for money. It is in recognition of these elements that the strategic direction for tourism to Gozo to 2030 is being formulated.

To engage in a multisectoral effort aimed at consciously sustaining the development of Gozo as a separate and distinct quality Mediterranean Island Destination. To do this by focusing on those positive elements of the Gozitan tourism offer whilst minimizing or rejecting alternatives considered damaging or incompatible with Gozo’s tourism aspirations and objectives. The formal recognition of Gozo’s  component characteristics, their preservation and the rejection of elements which go contrary to them are considered to be paramount for this objective to be reached.

Goals and Actions

Positioning Gozo as a distinct international and domestic tourism destination through the creation of a specific branding, market positioning and targeted tourism development plan.




Action 1.  Creating a Gozo stakeholder forum to discuss and agree upon the parameters of what should constitute Gozo’s tourism attributes. Thereafter to meet every 6 months.

Action 2.  Commissioning a study to provide direction on branding, market positioning and targeted tourism development.

Action 3.  Implementing the direction forthcoming from Action 2.

Action 4.  Working towards greater cohesion in marketing efforts aimed at the foreign and domestic markets so that thetwo become increasingly seen as complimentary rather than independent of each other.


Action 5.  Revisit the positioning exercise every 2 years to check on progress and introduce changes/updates.


Identifying the component characteristics of Gozo as a tourism destination so as to incorporate these components into a combined framework to ensure a holistic, unfragmented approach and avoid contradictory actions. The identification of Gozo’s USPs as a by-product of this exercise.



Action 1.  Work with Gozo tourism stakeholders under the auspices of the Gozo Regional Development Agency to map the entire set of components characterising and comprising the Gozitan tourism offer.

Action 2.  Present the Components Map to the wider Gozo administrative, commercial and voluntary community to
establish tourism’s interest and boundaries for inclusion in discussions and decisions affecting such components.


Formulation of a specific Tourism Development Policy for Gozo as a subset of the island’s overall
Development Policy. The Tourism Development Policy will cover accommodation, other tourism
facilities and attractions.



Action 1.  Initiation of a discussion on the direction which tourism development in Gozo needs to take to reach the Strategy’s Objectives. The ultimate objective being to create a Gozo-specific development policy, as distinct from that of Malta, to develop Gozo’s tourism industry in a way best suited for the island.

Action 2.  Formulation of a Draft Report in collaboration with the major Gozitan Tourism Stakeholders for submission to the
Gozo Regional Development Authority for inclusion in their overall policy formulation.


Development of a Segmentation Strategy for Gozo including market positioning, prioritized
geographical market and identification of best-fitting motivational segments .



Action 1.  Identification of current state of tourism inflows into Gozo using available data and industry feedback.

Action 2.  
Gap-analysis exercise to establish over- and under-performing components of the Gozitan tourism industry.

Action 3.  Presentation of Segmentation Strategy for Gozo.

Action 4.  Annual measurement of components of Segmentation Strategy.

Identifying and prioritising infrastructural requirements to support Gozo’s tourism development
potential. This will cover aspects such as greener connectivity and transport, heritage protection,
presentation and interpretation, coastal development and the elevation of the ecological and rural
dimension as an integral part of the Gozo tourism experience.



Action 1.  Stakeholder consultation for the compilation of a broad list of infrastructural requirements.

Action 2.  Commissioning of specialized Sectoral Studies based on feedback generated in Action 1.

Action 3.   Presentation of Sectoral Studies to relevant Ministries and Authorities and discussion on implementation. 

Action 4.  Delivery of agreed upon infrastructural projects. 

Action 5.  Stock take of improvements and update of Sectoral Studies.


Fully tapping Gozo’s cruise market potential in terms of its different offer from that of mainland Malta.



Action 1.  Stock-take of current state of the Cruise sector in Gozo through consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Action 2.  Drafting of Terms of Reference for the formulation of a Plan for the Development of the Cruise Market for Gozo.

Action 3.  Presentation of Plan for the Development of the Cruise Market for Gozo.

Action 4.  Bi-annual reviews of Plan.


Formulating a Digitisation Strategy for Gozo to maximise tourism opportunities for the island’s tourism sector. 



Action 1.  Undertaking of audit of Gozitan tourism’s current state of digitization to identify areas of best practice, shortcomings and areas of concern which require addressing.

Action 2.  Formulation of Digitisation Strategy for Gozo placing emphasis on the particular needs specific to the concept of 
Nomad Tourism.

Action 3.  Implementation of Digitisation Strategy by rolling it out to the different sectoral components, providing training, resources and overall direction for a cohesive and common approach covering tourism to Gozo.

Action 4.  Bi-annual reviews of Digitisation Strategy to be able to take technological advances into account.


Improving the measurement of Tourism Activity on Gozo beyond the data sets currently available
through the introduction of more Gozo-specific surveys and studies aimed at capturing the entire
accommodation spectrum and providing a range of quantitative, qualitative, sustainability and socioeconomic indicators.



Action 1.  Stock-take of currently available data-sources by the National Statistics Office, the Malta Tourism Authority, administrative data sources and industry sources.

Action 2.  Identification of gaps in required data.

Action 3.  Formulation of Action Plan and Time-line for the phased introduction of additional Gozo-specific surveys and studies. 

Action 4.  Publication of Annual Gozo Tourism Statistics Review. 

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