The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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Fewer Maltese, more foreign tourists visited Gozo over Santa Marija weekend this year – GTA

Semira Abbas Shalan Wednesday, 17 August 2022, 09:23 Last update: about 2 years ago

Fewer Maltese visited Gozo over the Santa Marija weekend, but an increase in foreign tourists visiting the island was recorded this year, Chief Executive Officer of the Gozo Tourism Association Joe Muscat said.

Muscat said that according to reports the association currently has, tourist accommodation occupation in Gozo has been positive, as the island is currently in the peak summer holiday season and this also coincides with the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which is a public holiday better known as 'Santa Marija'.


"The feedback for this year was good," he said, adding that Gozo is highly sought after by Maltese people during this period. "There was around a 90% to 95% occupation in accommodation," Muscat said.

Muscat said, however, that the association noted a decrease in the number of Maltese people visiting Gozo this year, whilst there was an increase in foreign tourists.

"Gozo has, in the past two years, broken all records in terms of Maltese people visiting the island, as due to the Covid-19 restrictions they could not travel abroad. This year, there were no restrictions on travelling and more Maltese people chose to spend their holidays abroad rather than in Gozo," he said.

Muscat said that there was an increase in foreigners visiting Gozo and that it is expected that this period will see better results when compared to the previous years.

Muscat said, however, that the numbers have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, and that 2022 is still a year of recovery from Covid-19. As for whether foreign tourism has compensated for the fewer Maltese people in Gozo and if the shift will mitigate the impact on tourism, he said that this question has yet to be answered.

"It is a reverse situation compared to last year." He said that while last year more Maltese and fewer foreigners visited, this year fewer Maltese than in 2021 but more foreigners visited. 

Asked about feedback from restaurants in Gozo, Muscat said that inflation has affected spending by tourists, as restaurants have had to increase prices for food.

"People are more wary, and more intelligent in spending money at restaurants due to inflation. The feedback from restaurants has more or less been the same as previous years, however inflation will affect the tourists in these restaurants, and how much they spend," Muscat said.


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