A gala dinner organised last year by the Gozo Ministry at Villa Rundle to mark World Tourism Day cost taxpayers close to €500 per guest.

The staggering figure was divulged by Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri in reply to a parliamentary question filed by Opposition MP Chris Said.

The latter enquired on the costs of this event which was held last autumn at the time when the ministry was headed by Justyne Caruana.

It transpires that the overall expense excluding VAT was of €36,152, with the payment being made by direct order as no call was issued. The bulk of the costs which was of €35,262 (excluding VAT) covered the catering expenses by Abraham’s Supplies. The expense was made with the blessing of the finance ministry.

Other expenses cited, also excluding VAT, were of €233 for two models greeting guests at the entrances, €216.10 for three tuxedos, €271.02 for 13 hampers, and €169.69 for the services of a singer.

A total of 90 guests were invited, meaning that the expense per guest was of €474 when including 18 per cent VAT.

In his reply, the Gozo Minister noted that no expenses were incurred for the venue as the gala dinner was organised at a government site. Camilleri said the guests included journalists from various countries, representatives from tourism entities, ambassadors and honorary consuls.

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