by Jason Moore

ONE of the few “bright lights” of this year´s tourist season is the growing number of cruise ships which are visiting the port of Palma. The local authorities have been busy congratulating themselves on Palma being one of the key cruise ship ports in the Mediterranean. But I would like to know how many passengers actually get off these ships when they visit the port? I have been told that in some casas it is just about 40 percent with the remaining 60 percent staying aboard to take advantage of their all inclusive deal. How many of these 40 percent just go ashore to stretch their legs and spend nothing? To cater for even more cruise ships the Port of Palma is being enlarged. But it is not only more moorings which are needed. Palma needs to prepare itself as well by offering a free bus service into the centre of Palma for passengers so that they can visit the big commercial centres. Passengers also need to be persuaded that it is worth going ashore. Also, one of the key dates for cruise ships is Sunday a day when most things are closed in Majorca. Yes, cruise ships can be really lucrative for the Balearics but the local authorities need to understand the market. At the moment the port of Palma is nothing more than a giant nautical parking space.