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Basing new GTB boss in London ‘misguided and ill-thought out’, GSD insists

Pic: Brian Reyes

The GSD has reaffirmed its view that basing the new chief executive of the Gibraltar Tourist Board in the UK is a “misguided and ill-thought out” policy decision by the Gibraltar Government.

This was the latest exchange in a row with the Gibraltar Government following its decision to base the next CEO in London to be closer to what No.6 Convent Place said was Gibraltar’s key target market.

The GSD accused the government of “political posturing” to justify “another bad decision” and a policy that, in its view, is short-sighted.

“At a time when the set-up locally needs proper support, focus and guidance to help Gibraltar’s tourism sector navigate beyond what has and continues to be a huge blow with the double whammy that Covid and Brexit represent, the last thing you do is send the captain of the ship thousands of miles away – but in this process it is the first thing that this Government has done,” said Damon Bossino, the GSD MP who shadows the tourism portfolio.

“People are right to be scratching their heads in astonishment.”

“If the Government pursues this policy, it will just be another to add to the fast-growing list of bad decisions.”

“The Line Wall Road pedestrianisation which was unceremoniously dropped like a hot brick by the Chief Minister, but not before it had also cost the tax payer, hundreds of thousands of pounds, in wasted designs; the Cruz appointment in Hong Kong, which cost the tax payer several hundreds of thousands of pounds annually and produces what, despite the fact that according to Sir Joe [Bossano] our economy is ‘unstable’.”

“None of the Government’s self-congratulatory and unsubstantiated statements deflect from the central point which is that Gibraltar’s Tourist Board will lose its CEO in Gibraltar at absolutely the wrong time.”

“After all, a rudder is attached to the vessel and not 1,500 miles away.”

“That is why, in the party’s view, the policy is both misguided and ill-thought out.”

“Furthermore, the tourism industry does not unilaterally welcome this move, far from it.”

The GSD said the government had announced its decision even before knowing who would take up the post or understanding what idea the successful candidate will bring to the table in order to make Gibraltar more attractive as a tourist destination.

Basing the CEO in London will place them “thousands of miles away from where the core of the activities is taking place”, the GSD said.

The GSD also questioned whether the UK was in fact Gibraltar’s source market, when the number of visitors coming to the Rock from Spain outstrips the number that come from the UK.

It said the government should rethink its position from the ground up and explain its plans for Spain and other emerging markets.

The government, it added, appeared “more interested in the attention-grabbing headline and photo-op” than in ensuring its polices worked and delivered value for money.

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