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Industry Updates Archive

31-08-2016 SAFEGUARDING THE AZURE WINDOW

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The Malta Tourism Authority, in collaboration with the Dwejra Committee, the Gozo Tourism Association and Nature Trust Malta, is taking steps to raise awareness about the need to protect the Azure Window at Dwejra in Gozo. The aim is to engage the support of the general public, tourists, local visitors to the island and the travel trade operators in an effort to limit damage caused by human activity to this natural landmark.

The Azure Window is one of the most iconic vistas of the Maltese Islands. Photographed and filmed by almost every visitor to Gozo, and featured on thousands of guidebooks, brochures and websites around the world, this natural arch is perhaps the most recognisable view of the Maltese Archipelago. Dwejra, that apart from the Azure Window also includes the Inland Sea and Fungus Rock, is a Natura 2000 special area of conservation.

The Azure Window’s location, right at the edge of the Dwejra cliffs, gives it a unique dramatic setting, but also leaves it totally exposed to the elements, especially the rough sea which beats upon it incessantly, particularly in winter. The same waves which carved the window out of the living rock continues to eat away at the structure and threatens to one day cause the slim bridge to collapse. And although the risk does not appear to be imminent, no one can predict with any degree of accuracy when such a collapse will take place.

Visitors to the site feel compelled to walk across the natural bridge, perhaps to take a look from the other side or to get an ‘I Was There’ souvenir photo. The corrosion caused by one person walking over the rocks of the Azure Window is infinitely small. But this simple action, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of times in a year, and millions of times over a longer period, might leave a mark on the fragile surface.

The Malta Tourism Authority is embarking on a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the situation, discouraging the practice of walking onto the arch and contributing to safeguard the Azure Window for future generations.

Planned actions include the improvement of signage on site, information on visitmalta.com and on other websites and social media channels, distribution of flyers on Gozo Channel ferries, coaches and rented cars and the installation of a webcam to monitor the area. A mailing will also be sent out to all travel trade operators on MTA’s database to elicit their support in informing visitors and helping us protect this important natural heritage site for as long as possible.

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