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New Year’s Eve approaching, and boatloads of Maltese are making their way to Gozo to celebrate the start of 2023. BusinessNow.mt reached out to the establishments and business spokespersons in Malta’s sister island, to understand the scale of what they’re anticipating in terms of visitors this year.

New Year’s Eve has become synonymous with going to Gozo for a growing number of Maltese, becoming an unspoken tradition. This year is another hallmark year for this tradition, with traffic on the road to the Gozo Ferry from Malta piling up since Boxing Day.

10:30 am no 26th December – Traffic leading to Cirkewwa, starting from Popeye’s Village (Image: Maltese Roads Traffic Updates)

Jesmond Buttigieg, Manager at the Gozo Business Chamber affirmed that expectations for the final week of 2022 are high, “in fact, the influx of Maltese during the previous weekend was very encouraging,” indicating a busy Christmas weekend.

When asked whether businesses have the capacity to handle the spike in visitors, Mr Buttigieg assured that “restaurants, hotels, B&B and self-catering establishments are well equipped to handle the requests, which have been coming for more than a month.”

Maltese planning their trips to Gozo more than a month in advance, is possibly the result of many families not being able to celebrate New Year’s Eve properly the last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Malta witnessed a record number of new COVID-19 cases during the last week of December 2021, which likely changed plans for countless families who decided to play safe and hunker down at home.

However now that the pandemic is under control and travel restrictions are minimal, there’s little preventing Maltese from making their way to Gozo, and the Gozo Business Chamber seems to agree.

A spokesperson for Kempinksy Hotel in San Lawrenz confirmed that they are busy this year, as did a spokesperson for Jubilee Restaurant in Victoria who added that they’re prepared for the incoming visitors.

However, some are taking a more cautious approach. Charlie Bonnici, business owner of Il-Kċina Għawdxija, expressed concerns that the geopolitical situation and its impact on the rising cost of living, could have an effect on Maltese travellers to Gozo. However, Mr Bonnici is certain that it will be at least “as busy as last year.”

With sunny weather expected throughout the week, it’s fair to say that the stars have aligned for a very busy weekend in Gozo.

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