Tourism Minister presents Eco-certificates for Gozitan farmhouses
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The Tourism Minister Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, in a ceremony on Friday, presented Eco-certificates to the first 7 farmhouses in Gozo that reached the required criteria of the scheme, which was launched in Gozo last year and is an extension of the certification scheme for hotels.
The scheme is aimed at strengthening the development of sustainable tourism, and farmhouses in Gozo will benefit from reduced operating costs when implementing certain practices that are required under the scheme.
In his speech ther Tourism Minister said that “the tourism industry is one of the major pillars of the economy of Malta and Gozo. The contribution of tourism in our country’s gross domestic product is upwards of 25 %, our goal is to continue to see growth in this area which is so important to us.”
He added that last year more than one and a half million tourists visited Malta, and these initiatives will undoubtedly attract more tourists to our islands.
“The scheme continues to ensure the expansion of the tourist industry of this country, but is also sustainable by protecting the environment. This means that while we should continue to aim at the economic and social benefits from tourism, it does not mean that it has to be detrimental to the environment,” the Minister said.
The Minister pointed out that research has shown that there is a sector of tourists, who are more aware of where they wish to spend their money, and they seek a holiday destination that is sustainable and environmentally friendly, as well as choosing accommodation that is Eco- certified. Many tourists are becoming more aware of environmental protection and sustainable development.
“The first group of farmhouses that have been Eco-certified are located all over Gozo, the island that is known to be aiming at becoming more sustainable. Proof that this type of scheme, is another link in the chain of the vision of the Government to create an ecological island of Gozo by 2020 – ‘Eco-Gozo.’
The Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo, the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the Malta Tourism Authority, Dr Gavin Gulia and Mr Josef Formosa Gauci respectively, also attended the presentation ceremony.