THE Port of Palma is busy congratulating itself on attracting a record number of cruise ships this year but does Palma really benefit from being one of the cruise liner centres of the western Mediterranean? How many passengers actually leave the ships and head into town? How many go on excursions around the island? These are questions which should be asked because I sincerely doubt that Palma is making full use of its privilaged cruise line position.
Why isn´t a free shuttle bus service being operated from the port to the commercial heart of the city? Some taxi drivers would not be too impressed but at least passengers would have an opportunity to see the city and all that it has to offer. According to Port Authority figures in excess of one million cruise line passengers came to the island this year, an all time record. Times are changing and so is the tourist industry so it must start investigating the new markets, such as cruising.
The Balearics needs to exploit this market to the maximum and ensure that cruise liner passengers explore the island and also buy in local shops. The package holiday industry is in decline and tourism is changing. Cruising appears to be the future at the moment but the local authorities should start realising that they must do more.