Cruise Liner Terminal in Gozo

Cruise Liner Terminal in Gozo

Request for Proposals: The Design, Build and Operation of a Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo.



The GoM has announced its intention to proceed with the award of a concession whereby it will be granting a suitable site(s) for the Design, Build and Operation of a Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo on a temporary emphyteutical basis. One of the main aims of the Government of Malta is to promote and support the economic development of the Island of Gozo for the creation of sustainable and productive jobs for the local population. A significant commitment of Government in this regard is to ensure that Gozo is equipped with the marine facilities and related infrastructure that it needs to achieve this objective. The development and promotion of the island of Gozo as a cruise liner an​d yachting destination are foremost on the Government’s agenda for Gozo.

At present, there is only one port in Gozo. It is located on the eastern side of the island and is enclosed within two breakwaters. It has relatively new quays and a ferry passenger terminal presently being used primarily for domestic voyages between Malta and Gozo. There are competing users for the Port, these include:

  • An all-year scheduled passenger/vehicle ferry service that is operated from this port to the closest port on the western side of the Island of Malta at Cirkewwa on a daily basis;
  • A cargo service that is also operated from the same port to a port on the north-eastern side of the Island of Malta at Marsamxetto;
  • A small marina for leisure boats and small yachts;
  • About 200 fishing vessels which are moored in the port;
  • Cruise ships occasionally anchor seaward of the breakwaters.

Gozo is a popular port of call for yachts coming from Sicily and the Western Mediterranean. Additional yachting facilities would complement the existing marina and potentially develop a marina hopping concept. The cruise liner industry in Gozo is still in its early stage and provides an opportunity for growth. It offers the Island of Gozo an opportunity and the prospects to be developed into a niche location. Hence, it provides an alternative scenario for sustainable economic growth and a potential diversification of coastal and marine tourism in Gozo. Promoting a cruise liner industry and other maritime related activities in Gozo is viewed by the GoM as providing not only an excellent business opportunity but also a vibrant new destination for the mainstream cruise liner industry. GoM intends to promote Gozo as a strategic location for a Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina that represents an exciting and well-timed business opportunity for prospective investors interested in the facilities forming the scope of this RFP.

On 28th June 2013, the Ministry for Gozo, acting on behalf of the GoM issued an EOI for the development of a cruise liner terminal and berthing facilities and a yacht marina in the Island of Gozo. Notice of the invitation for the EOI was published in the local and international media. The ideas submitted in the EOIs were appraised by the EAC that was specifically established to evaluate the EOI submissions. This appraisal has provided a robust basis for defining the conceptual requirements for formulating this RFP. The following general parameters have been established as an initial basis for the development policy:


  1. The current mooring point off Xlendi is rarely used, is designed for small ships, has serious short-comings and has had little impact on tourism in Gozo;
  2. The Mgarr harbour is considered to be small. Small cruise liners carrying up to 300 passengers encounter difficulties to berth in the harbour and are therefore constrained to berth outside the harbour;
  3. Data for 2012 indicates that 320 cruise liners entered Malta but only fourteen entered Gozo. This has resulted in a total of 608,786 cruise liner passengers visiting Malta compared to 3,556 that visited Gozo;
  4. Gozo is viewed as a niche destination with great potential for cruise liners and leisure craft and, as such, its development is not intended to compete with similar facilities in Malta;
  5. There is no preferred site(s) for the project, hence GoM is leaving all options open. As a government policy Hondoq Ir-Rummien is excluded;
  6. The broad objective of the project is to attract mainly small to medium sized cruise ships to Gozo and to have a marina that accommodates, but not limited to, 300 berths for yachts including about thirty berths for up to thirty five meter yachts (or larger craft).The rest may vary in size from ten to fifteen meters.


In its consideration as to whom the concession for the site(s) is to be awarded, the GoM expects to attain the following strategic benefits from this RFP process and the eventual grant of the concession:

  1. To Design, Build and Operate a Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo on a timely basis and to enhance the development of the Maltese economy with special reference to the Gozo context;
  2. The proposed site(s) is to be run profitably and in a way which ensures that those using the proposed facilities and the GoM are satisfied with the level and quality of the amenities and services provided. Furthermore, the proposed amenities and services are to meet local, European and international regulatory and international standards;
  3. The development of the Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo is to be carried out in such a manner so as to outlast the concession duration being granted by the GoM;
  4. To ensure that no revenue or capital support for the development and operation of the site(s) will be required from the GoM, but rather to maximise proceeds to GoM and to create work for industrial and professional workers;
  5. To enable the proposed site(s) to benefit from private sector capital investment and on-going upgrading and modernisation, thus enhancing their competitive stature within the respective sector;
  6. To ensure in the interest of competitiveness and long-term sustainability, that the development of the Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo is operated on the best private sector management principles and efficient work practices;
  7. To complement the proposed site(s) with the strategic commitment, vision and capability of experienced international players in order to tap new opportunities for on-going business growth in Gozo;
  8. To ensure that future operations within the proposed site(s) are supported by sustainable manpower levels, skill base and work practices as may be further developed through training opportunities; and
  9. To maximize the spill-over benefits to the Maltese economy through increased investment opportunities, sustainable employment prospects and development of Gozo as a commercial hub for cruise liner and yacht marina activities.


The concession for the Design, Build and Operation of a Cruise Liner Terminal and Berthing Facilities and a Yacht Marina in the Island of Gozo is designed to attain the following benefits:
  1. To foster an appropriate spectrum of the maritime sector activities ensuring that the goals of the European Union’s Integrated Maritime Policy, including interalia, the Marine Strategy Directive, the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean and the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council, establishing a framework for Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management, and a more Resource-efficient Europe within the Europe 2020 strategy, are adhered to;
  2. To develop the proposed site(s) through significant investment, modernisation and the activity domain that are presented in the Proponent(s) respective RFP submissions;
  3. To maximize the cruise liner and yacht marina berthing industry value chain by rendering this industry sector competitive along with those prevalent in the Mediterranean rim, as well as to attract new value-added services; and
  4. To maximise the benefits to the Gozo economy through inter alia increased investment, employment prospects and business opportunities related to the cruise liner and yacht marina berthing activities.