[WATCH] The world gears up for 2020

Some parts of the world are already ushering in 2020 as Malta gears up for its own celebrations

Thousands of people have already gathered at the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia for the midnight fireworks display, a globally renowned attraction that generates millions in tourism revenue.

This despite the thousands who signed a petition to cancel the display this year after New South Wales was ravaged by intense bushfires due to record-breaking temperatures and months of draught, rendering the koala bear functionally extinct among other things.

Organisers of the Sydney display were urged to call off the demonstration and instead donate the money to farmers and the fire service but the New South Wales Rural Fire Service granted organisers an exemption from a total fire ban.

Fireworks or not, however, Australia, being 11 hours ahead of Malta due to the Earth's ellipsoidal nature, will be ushering the New Year in the coming hours, preceded only by New Zealand. The rest of the world will follow suit.

Malta will be enjoying a bright and sunny if not a little chilly run-up to New Year's Eve and it's expected to be a dry night. Valletta will be bidding farewell to 2019 and heralding the New Year with its traditional celebration in St George’s Square, with the stage having now been set up to host one of the year’s most anticipated events.

READ ALSO: What to expect on New Year's Eve in Valletta

The public is encouraged to make use of public transport on the night, which will be running on an extended service till the early hours of the morning. This also includes ferry connections to and from Valletta. The Floriana park and ride will remain operational up to 2am on 1 January.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition Leader Adrian Delia are expected to make their end-of-year speeches before the countdown fever.

2019 was a jam-packed and tough year for Malta featuring intense MEP and local council elections, the first racially-motivated murder on the island, Tumas businessman Yorgen Fenech being charged as the mastermind behind the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the announcement of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's impending resignation, a series of unprecedented protests calling for executive resignations and other landmark moments which might shape the spirit of the times to come.

Journalists were kept busy throughout the year. MaltaToday would like to end 2019 by wishing a Happy New Year to its readers.