The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

Gozo not fully booked for Carnival weekend as previous years – GTA

Wednesday, 13 January 2021, 08:05 Last update: about 9 days ago

It will be a different Carnival this year in Gozo, as the accommodation sector is facing a dry spell and is expected to get worse as the famous events in Nadur have been cancelled by the local council in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The month of February is typically highly sought after by locals as they start to prepare for the Carnival weekend. But this year will not be the same as restrictions linked to the pandemic prohibit mass gatherings.

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This includes any events in Nadur, Gozo, which are some of the largest and highly anticipated Carnival activities. Last year alone, around 48,000 people in 15,000 cars crossed over to Gozo to experience these events.

The Malta Independent spoke with Gozo Tourism Authority (GTA) CEO Joe Muscat, who painted a grim picture for this year’s Carnival.

“Requests for the Carnival period are still coming in even though national, regional and local authorities have expressed concern and cancelled festivities,” Muscat said.

However, he noted that numbers are not any higher than those of the past months since the start of the pandemic. "Under normal circumstances, accommodation would be completely fully booked by now (for Carnival), but this is definitely not the case this year."

He said that there will be no events taking place Nadur this year.

This was later confirmed by the Nadur Local Council itself on Tuesday which also called for caution this year.

Asked if there is still something that the GTA will be doing to maintain the Carnival spirit on the island, Muscat said that the association is not organising anything, but there are individual establishments that will carry on with their own marketing and promotion as long as they are allowed to stay open and follow health protocols.

This newsroom also asked if he thinks that this year’s cancellation of Carnival events will demotivate people from attending festivities in the future. Muscat replied by saying that it might actually have the opposite effect as people will be more eager to attend future events.

“There is a clear reason why Carnival events had to be cancelled this year. It would be detrimental to public health as they bring a lot of people together in both Malta and Gozo. But I don't think that this cancellation will have an effect on future Carnival events. Rather, there will be more enthusiasm for them, and I hope that the time from this year will be used in more preparation for the next year.”

On a final note, Muscat said that, like any other weekend, the impact that taking a trip to Gozo will have on the spread of the virus depends on the individuals themselves since, as long as they stick to their bubble, there is nothing wrong with taking a trip to Gozo, as per health regulations. The issue comes in when different bubbles visit Gozo together and mix and the owner of the accommodation they booked cannot be blamed for that as many people on social media seem to think, he explained.

 

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