Gozo 1234 Festival – Fun, Food and Fireworks
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A four-day Gozo festival called Gozo 1234, because it will span the long weekend from May the 1st, which is a public holiday, to May 4, was launched today by Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono and Dr Mario de Marco, Parliamentary Secretary for tourism.
The festival’s organisation is being handled by Burning Spear, a joint venture by Where’s Everybody and Nexos Lighting. These companies have worked together in the past in a previous consortium for the organisation of Welcomeeurope, on Malta’s accession into the European Union.
Lou Bondi, speaking for the company, said the festival will feature and build on the best elements of the Notte Gozitana and the Fireworks Festival, and the many activities will be spread over several localities, with thirteen local councils taking part.
During the days of the festival, which starts on April the 30th at 1.30 pm and runs till Saturday May the 3rd, the Gozo ferry fares will be reduced by 70 percent for travellers from Malta. There will also be a shuttle bus service from Mgarr to Marsalforn, Nadur and Victoria.
The festival, Mr Bondi said, will feature a rich mixture of culture, history, music, food, drama, sport and dance, apart from the fireworks festival which will include fireworks from Malta, Gozo, Denmark and Italy. The fireworks festival will be held on May the 1st at Marsalforn, May the 2nd at Nadur and May the 3rd at Victoria.
Minister Debono said that the main aim of the activity was to promote tourism to Gozo during the shoulder months. She noted that efforts to promote Gozo among tourists was paying off, in that the number of foreign tourists in Gozo last year was 19 percent higher than in 2006.
Dr de Marco said the government was giving particular importance on the overseas marketing of Gozo as a distinct tourism destination.
He quoted figures from the NSO’s statistics for 2007 which showed that out of all tourists visiting the Maltese islands last year, 650,000 took a day trip to Gozo, 19,000 visitors spent one night on the island, 36,000 tourists split their stay between Malta and Gozo, whilst over 67,000 guests stayed inGozo exclusively. Dr de Marco said that such figures were encouraging but added that the government was working to increase them further.
He concluded by saying that that the MTA would shortly open a new tourist information and administration office in one of the most central areas of Victoria.