The Gozo Tourism Association conducted a survey amongst its members to understand better the human resources situation amongst the Gozitan tourism sector and how it is being effected by the Covid-19. Through the findings of this survey, the Association will review which measures are deemed to be more effective for the Gozitan tourism establishments and assist to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and kickstart recovery efforts.
The encouraging response to this survey from Gozitan tourism operators covered a wide range of the tourism sector on Gozo. The categories that filled in the survey were coming from all the accommodation sectors 48% of respondents, restaurants 16%, diving centres 11%, tourist attractions 6%, transport 11%, tour operators, DMCs, travel agencies 4%, real estate 2% and tourism consultancy firms 2%.
The survey also confirmed that the Gozitan tourism sector is based on small and family run businesses. In fact, the greater part of the establishments or 67% that responded the survey employ less than 10 employees, while 19% stated that they employ between 10 and 40 employees. As expected only 12% of the respondents defined that their establishments employ more than 40 employees.
The respondents of this survey in their majority (81%), declared that did not effect any redundancies amongst their work force, even though several sectors are closed or not operating.
This was majorly due to the fact that 77% of survey respondents stated that they are benefitting from the Malta Enterprise Wage Supplement. However, in this regard 35% of respondents are still awaiting to receive the wage supplement payment. Only 5% did not apply mainly due to the fact that their respective category is not eligible both under annex A & B.
On the other hand, 15% of the survey participants indicated that all their employees are working on reduced hours, 8% have some of the employees on reduced hours while the majority 71% affirmed that their business is presently closed down.
Furthermore 40% of those who filled in the survey stated that if the situation prevails beyond May 2020, they perceive redundancies from their respective establishments., with 24% affirming that they will not affect any redundancies whilst 36% are still undecided what to do.
The tourism operators were also asked to list their preferences for further measures to be introduced by Government to assist the tourism sector on Gozo. The order of preference was a reduction of VAT rates on accommodation and tourism-related services, reduction in utilities bills, reduction in the price of fuel and specific schemes to cover premises rents.
Finally, the findings of this survey will be included in a report which the Gozo Tourism Association is compiling and which eventually be presented to the respective Authorities.