The Malta Independent 29 February 2024, Thursday
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Watch - Overcrowded Comino: ‘Not the idyllic place it is marketed to be’

Sabrina Zammit Sunday, 23 July 2023, 08:30 Last update: about 8 months ago

As the summer heat intensifies, more people seek to spend a day of relaxation at the beach. Comino is one of the top destinations, both for Maltese as well as tourists, attracted by pictures of blue waters in a garigue setting that make it seem as the ideal place to be on a hot morning.

Comino is often advertised as a peaceful island with only a few residents. However, the scenario shifts as summer hits, with many tourists and Maltese alike flocking to the island for the day.

Last week The Malta Independent on Sunday headed to Comino to ask tourists whether or not the small, almost uninhabited island, met their expectations.

Most respondents said that although the place was overcrowded, they still enjoyed themselves. But many others said that too many people in such a small space made it impossible for them to relish the experience.

Some told this newsroom that they were considering leaving the island earlier than they anticipated if “we don’t find a spot”. Many ended up trying to find an alternative spot away from the tiny sandy strip which was too populated, but given the sharp rocks and uneven surface, it was not an easy task.

The presence of so many boats getting to the shore or leaving also made for some dangerous moments, especially when people swim outside the designated areas.

Some of the good spaces were already occupied by deckchairs, which goes against the policy that should be adopted. This lays down that deckchairs are to be placed on the beach only after they are rented out. When a deckchair operator was confronted about why he filled an area with deckchairs before tourists arrived, TMI journalists were left with a “no comment”.

Last year, activists had held protests on the island to demand that it is “given back” to the public, but in spite of promises made by the government, it is apparent that nothing much has changed.

Last April, the minister responsible, Clayton Bartolo, had announced that deckchairs on Comino would be reduced by 65% this summer. People who have been to Comino this year say that this is not really the case.

Although the presence of deckchairs was not something which seemed to be bothering the majority of respondents, an elderly tourist highlighted how she didn’t feel like Comino “is a good place” for her. This is because “it is difficult to get to the sea”.

The presence of many people is also one of the top reasons why tourists, approached by this media house, said they could not fully relax during their brief Comino stay.

Although most respondents said they expected the area to be overcrowded “because it (Comino) is beautiful”, some said they thought they would find a more nature-oriented picturesque scene. They pointed out that this was not the case with so many boats and people present.

Others said they did not really want to think about being among such a big crowd as they just wanted to enjoy the day, knowing that they would leave within a few hours.

Beach-goers also complained about the noise.

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