This June, The Maltese Government launched an international call for expressions of interest for the development of a cruise liner terminal and a yacht marina on the island of Gozo. This call was closed at the end of September and the government announced on 22 November, 2013 that 14 submissions in total were received.

Speaking to, Alison Vassallo, senior associate at Fenech and Fenech Advocates, explained more about the initial plans. “The invitation that was extended by means of this call referred equally to the possibility of development of a terminal and facilities for both the cruise liner and yachting industry respectively," she revealed. "Therefore the call invited expressions of interest by potential international investors with regard to both possibilities."

With regards to the 14 submissions to the call for expression of interest, Vassallo revealed that information is not yet available as to who the interested parties were. “It would not be possible at this stage to obtain information as to who expressed such interest and the number of submissions (if any) which focus on the yachting sector and on the development of yachting facilities in Gozo,” said Vassallo.

In the eventuality that the government is satisfied with the potential of the submission received the next step would be to publish a 'request for proposals' (RFP) which would outline the technical and financial requirements expected of the project and which would invite the entities who collect the RFP to place their bids for the said project.

With exact information on the plans not yet available and the status of a particular superyacht focus in the planned marina in Gozo still unknown, asked about the potential of the project. “In my view, Gozo as a sister island to Malta offers an extremely attractive destination to yacht owners,” Vassallo answered. “In fact Gozo is already a very popular port of call for yachts coming from Sicily and the Western Med and a large number of ultra high net worth individuals have chosen to purchase homes on the island and eventually retire there.”

Malta, sister island to Gozo. Credit: Ed Holt

Speaking to Anthony Galea of DF Advocates, it was also revealed that: "The Government hasn't yet established the type of facility it will create although we do expect that it will somehow involve superyachts as this is a main area of development here. Unfortunately Gozo is not a big island and is rich in history and natural beauty so there isn't many places that lend themselves for the development so we can't expect many berths to be created for superyachts. Hopefully onshore services will also be created to support superyachts visiting Gozo as not many exist there at present (although Malta is in reality so close)." contacted Melita Marine Group, owner of Mgarr Marina in Gozo, which currently has berths for superyachts up to 50 metres to ask if they had any involvement with the plans. “We are under a NDA with the government of Malta and thus we cannot disclose any information on plans at this time,” said Director Pierre Balzan, “However what we can say is that Mgarr Marina is expanding its number of berths in general to around 240 form its existing 204 at present in May 2014, which will also include additional superyacht berths.”

In relation to the same question, Transport Malta, as potential stakeholders in the project, felt that it was still premature to comment at this stage. will notify readers on any further developments as more information becomes available.

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Melita Marine Group

Fenech & Fenech Advocates

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