The number of Cruise liners calling into Gibraltar has dropped significantly this year in comparison to last year. There is a worrying drop of around 30% in cruise passenger visits as shown on the Port Authority website. Fewer tourists is undermining the viability of small businesses.

A look at the figures, compared to May – August 2018, shows that passenger visits are down approximately 46,000 for this same time last year.

May is down by 18,672, June 10,654, July 1,324 and August is forecast to be down by 16,196 cruise passengers.

GSD Spokesperson Orlando Yeats said:

“The tourist industry has always been one of the pillars of our economy. A large proportion of the small business sector relies on cruise liner passengers to sustain their businesses, so such a drastic drop in tourists is worrying.

Speculation as to why operators have been put off visiting, ranges from the lack of diversity and a general deterioration of our tourist product, street cleanliness and uncompetitive rises in berthing fees compared to rival destinations. All matters that are the responsibility of this GSLP-Liberal Government, whatever the reason the business community deserves to know what has caused such a decline in numbers.

With the Government seeing it proper in recent times to ramp up business expenses by hefty increases in social insurance and employment fees and, now, tourist visits falling, many small businesses will be starting to feel the financial strain.

Gibraltar could be a jewel in the Med, but we need to be using Gibraltar’s assets to best advantage. We fail on basic things like, street cleanliness, traffic management and the upkeep/diversification of our attractions. It is time to tackle all issues that are resulting in reduced tourism.”