Decline in cruise visits 'is a worry for businesses', GSD says
The GSD has highlighted a sharp year-on-year drop in cruise calls at Gibraltar and said this was of concern to businesses.
The number of cruise ships has dropped significantly this year in comparison to last year, the GSD said, pointing to a "worrying drop" of 30% in passengers numbers according to data from the Gibraltar Port Authority.
"Fewer tourists is undermining the viability of small businesses," the GSD said.
Passenger numbers between May and August are down approximately 46,000 for compared to the same period last year.
According to the GPA data highlighted by the GSD, passenger numbers in May are down by 18,672, June by 10,654, July by 1,324 and August is forecast to be down by 16,196 cruise passengers.
"The tourist industry has always been one of the pillars of our economy," said GSD spokesman Orland Yeats.
"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."