The number of bed nights at Gozo’s tourist establishments last year amounted to over 320,000, which represented an increase of almost 4% in 2013.
Contributing towards these bed nights, is surely the British couple Robert and Marlies Salmond, who have been visiting Gozo every year for the last 40 years. The roots they have on the island means they are practically considered permanent residents.
This was how Mrs Anna Farrugia described Robert Salmond, 77, who together with his wife Marlese, regularly spend their holidays in Gozo. The relationship which the Salmond couple have with the island began 40 years ago when they crossed over for the first time late one evening on the ferry when the sea was quite rough.
The Salmonds spend around eight weeks a year in Gozo and they always stay at Marsalforn.
The charm of the island has led to a continued increase in tourists. Out of the 2.3 million passengers who crossed over to Gozo last year, around 945,000 were tourists or foreign visitors.
Official figures show that the contribution of the tourism industry towards the Maltese economy indicate that Gozo’s share of tourism in terms of spending power last year represented almost half of Gozo’s GDP, with the figure being around €180 million.
But what keeps Robert and his wife Marlese coming to Gozo? When they hear this question, their faces light up because they say there is no sky which is bluer or a sun which is more beautiful than they find here.
Over the many years they have been coming to Gozo, the Salmonds have made many friends, but they are especially close to Renato and Anna Farrugia, and from their very first visit, the couples have treated each other like family. We took our leave of the British couple at Marsalforn, where Robert still remembers every change which took place in this Gozitan seaside resort.
What hasn’t changed however is the enthusiasm with which he and his wife keep coming to Gozo every year.