THE tourist industry is quite rightly calling for the port of Palma to be enlarged so that it can cater for an even greater number of cruise ships. This year already, an estimated one million cruise ship passengers sailed into Palma, an all time record. But in the same way as the airport figures can give the wrong impression I feel that these numbers need to be clearly analysed. Lets face it a sizeable percentage of the one million people the local authorities are so proud of, never actually left the ship in the first place so they contributed little or nothing at all to the local economy. Then there must be another group of passengers who got as as far as the Club de Mar and decided to return to their ship because it was a long walk into town. It is often said that cruise passengers are big spenders probably so but let us remember they don´t have much time on dry land. If your cruise ship is all inclusive are you really going to walk into Palma and go for lunch in a local restaurant....I don´t know obviously it is great news that Palma is a cruise ship capital but the local authorities should have a careful look at the figures. The same could be said about the airport. There are now plenty of people who arrive at the airport and are driven directly to the port to board a cruise ship. They do the return journey a week later. But let us remember these same people are counted in as tourists and also add to the cruise statistics eventhough they probably have spent nothing on the island at all. It is also relative but sometimes the figures can be confusing and give us the wrong picture. What this island needs is tourists who spend in local businesses and add to the local economy. Not, just phantom tourists.
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