GSD’s Bossino questions Government’s bragging on cruise calls

The Minister for Tourism’s statements concerning cruise calls cannot be left unanswered. This is unfortunately the case when it comes to statements generally made by this Government.

The Minister sings his own praises with regard to a supposed increase in cruise-liner inaugural calls. In doing so, he dismisses his wider department’s efforts as he claims all the credit (if there is any credit) for himself and himself alone. He should have greater humility and be more thorough in his analysis and if he had done so he may not have sought to blow his own trumpet – once again.

The facts are that the numbers of cruise passengers in 2022 are still some 126,000 less than they were in 2019 pre-pandemic levels and about half of the numbers which arrived in 2016, the year he claims to have beaten in inaugural calls. Why does he fail to refer to these statistics?

The Minister has also singularly failed to properly refurbish the cruise liner terminal in time so that the enduring image that many of these passengers on these inaugural calls he boasts about will have is of a third-world, badly maintained terminal.

The Government furthermore fails to refer to many of the other issues which affect the cruise liner industry as identified by entities like the Chamber of Commerce such as the incapacity of our transport infrastructure to properly service passengers and the variety of excursions. The Chamber rightly refers to stiff competition which Gibraltar faces from Cadiz and Malaga stating that we are lagging ‘further and further’ behind.

“Rather than brag about a specific statistic, Gibraltar would be served better by a Government which has proper focus on what needs to be done to improve the cruise offering and that of the tourism product as a whole.” said the GSD’s Damon Bossino.