Last Updated on Sunday, 9 July, 2023 at 10:19 am by Andre Camilleri
A strong summer season of tourism is expected in Gozo, the Minister responsible for the island told The Malta Business Weekly in an interview.
However, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri believes that beyond the summer season, Gozo has now been converted into an island destination “for all seasons.”
This was the fruit, the Minister said, of promoting the island on a year-round basis but of work to organise a calendar of cultural activities for the whole year. This has boosted the number of people crossing the channel to the sister island.
Camilleri noted in fact that, for instance, there were 340,000 passengers crossing the channel to Gozo in the period between last Christmas and just after the start of 2023.
“Part of this success, I think, is due to the promotion of Gozo as a destination, but more so because in every season we are running cultural programmes so that there are activities always going on in Gozo, and so that all those who visit us can have an enjoyable experience,” Camilleri said.
“I believe that this strategy is working in the sense that maybe Gozo was considered to be a summer island, today we are seeing Gozo become an island for all seasons,” he continued.
Camilleri admitted that perhaps there is the need for more effort when it comes to the shoulder months but said that nonetheless visitor numbers are good and the feedback which the ministry has received from those representing restaurants and hotels is also good.
Those establishments have indicated that this summer is going to be a “very good summer” and that he is looking forward to seeing Gozo be an attractive destination for both tourists and also Maltese.
He expands on the latter point, noting that this was a phenomenon seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this period while the Malta International Airport was still closed or largely closed, Camilleri said that Gozo practically maintained the same numbers because the lack of foreign tourists was compensated for by an increase in internal tourism
“I believe that we need to make our island attractive to Maltese as well because this domestic tourism is constant tourism and it ultimately also leaves money in the Gozitan economy,” Camilleri concluded.
Data published by the National Statistics Office earlier this year showed that a total of 5,694,804 passengers commuted between Malta and Gozo in 2022 on both the Gozo Channel and the fast ferry.
This year, the number of passengers has so far increased when compared to 2022: the NSO said last April that the total number of vehicles and passengers travelling between Malta and Gozo in the first quarter of the year had increased significantly, with 1,254,008 passengers being carried on 8,742 trips.
Historical data shows that the number of passenger movements just about exceeded the number of movements in the first quarter of 2019, the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic.