The Covid-19 pandemic led to a dramatic drop in the number of people using the Gozo Channel ferries, with the number of passengers during the second quarter of the year falling by more than half.
National Statistics Office figures show that a total of 581,311 passengers travelled between Malta and Gozo between April and June this year, down by 63.1% when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019. The drop in the number of vehicles making the crossing was less dramatic, though still considerable: the 282,446 vehicles making the crossing during the second quarter of 2020 represent a 37.9% drop over 2019 figures.
Gozo Channel also operated a lighter schedule during the pandemic, with the number of ferry trips taking place between April and June falling by 15.2% to 5,334.
Non-essential travel between the two islands had been stopped as the Covid-19 pandemic reached the country, with restrictions only starting to be loosened in May. However, the absence of overseas tourism certainly had an impact on numbers.
Accordingly, the most notable decline in ferry traffic was recorded in April, with passenger and vehicle numbers falling by 85% and 67.2% respectively. In May, the decline in passenger and vehicle numbers stood at 64.6% and 38.3% respectively.
Traffic did continue to pick up in June, which accounted for the absolute majority of passenger traffic during the second quarter of 2020. But the 318,822 passengers which travelled between the country’s two main islands still represented a drop of 40.3% when compared to June 2019, while the 141,577 vehicles making the crossing represented a drop of 10.2%.