With more than 7,000 years of history, the Mediterranean island of Gozo has gained a reputation for its raw beauty and stunning architecture. Just 25 minutes from mainland Malta by ferry, the 67sq km island is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Ggantija in Xaghra, the world’s oldest free-standing megalithic temple complex.
Surrounded by myth and intrigue, Gozo’s ancient beauty has seen the island become a tourist hotspot in recent years, with tourism acting as the key driver of the local economy. But the island is also exploring ways to diversify its offering, and has invested heavily into new high-value industries capable of contributing to Gozo’s economic development long into the future.
In light of the island’s growing popularity among tourists, the Government of Malta is actively improving Gozo’s infrastructure. Working in association with Barts Health and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, the government has established a medical school on the island, while a private consortium has also created a new medical hub at the Gozo hospital. The development includes the introduction of state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and will provide the local community with a comprehensive range of first-rate medical services.
In the past few years, Gozo’s main town, Victoria, has also engaged in a number of active regeneration projects, with extensive restoration works adding renewed value to historic sites such as the Cittadella. An interactive visitor centre has also been developed on the same site.
The government has invested heavily into high-value industries capable of contributing to Gozo’s economic development long into the future
Meanwhile, the island is also gaining momentum economically. The present government has promised to build on Gozo’s current success and is drawing up a number of measures to attract further investment to the island. This move has focused on creating an ideal environment for companies to thrive in, and has been emphasised by the success IT companies, such as Thynk Software, are having on the island.
The government is also investing in the local infrastructure, and is set to launch a second fibre optic project to enhance the connectivity between Gozo and Malta. Physical connectivity is also being improved, with the introduction of a faster ferry service between the islands currently under consideration.
But Gozo isn’t just an ideal investment location: its countryside, beautiful beaches and sharp cliff edges provide the perfect getaway for adventure lovers the world over. Kayaking, climbing and diving continue to be popular year round, while those seeking relaxation can enjoy a walk along the coastline, which treats visitors to the beautiful and historic watchtowers traditionally used to raise the alarm when pillaging corsairs made for land.
In addition to the island’s sights, tourists are often taken by the friendliness and hospitality of the locals. The island’s traditional village pubs offer a warm, jovial atmosphere and are home to a range of local delicacies, such as freshly baked ftira and a collection of ever-popular wines.
Gozitans are very proud of their heritage, and this is evident throughout Gozo’s rich cultural calendar. The island plays host to three annual music festivals and three operas with internationally renowned singers. Indeed, Gozo boasts two independent opera theatres; a testament to the locals’ love for the arts.
With a deep sense of identity driving Gozitans to always strive for the very best, the island’s charm will endear Gozo to even the most discerning business traveller.
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