THE port of Palma was the second busiest cruise ship stopover in Spain last year handling nearly 700'000 vistors.
According to a report released yesterday entitled The cruise ship contribution to Europe, produced by the European Cruise Council (ECC), Spain benefitted from the industry to the tune of 2.6 million visitors to Spanish ports last year.
Spain is the second most popular destination in Europe for cruisers, the first being Italy.
Among the Spanish ports, Barcelona is the most popular, with 940'000 visitors, followed by Palma with 683'000 visitors, Santa Cruz de Tenerife with 370'000 visitors, and Malaga with 240'000. The average expenditure per visitor in each port is 45 euros.
The cruise industry has created 14'000 jobs in Spain, and a direct income of 683 million euros, of which 45 million relates to commission for Spanish travel agents.
Expenditure on Spanish food and drink and other commodities to provision the ships amounted to 18 million.
Figures from 2005 show that the demand for cruises throughout the world has more than doubled since 1995, burgeoning from 5.7 million to 14.4 million passengers.
As a result, according to the report, cruise passengers are an important source of tourism for European countries.
During the same period, the number of Europeans who went on round the world cruises more than tripled, going from one million to 3.3 million, and in 2005 approximately 480 million euros was paid in commission to European travel agents.
It is expected that this rapid growth will continue, reaching 4 million European passengers in 2010 and five million in 2015.
Among the 2.6 million cruise passengers who boarded at European ports in 2005, 90 percent were from European countries, and their average expenditure was 100 euros in the port where they boarded the cruise ship, and another 50 euros in each port visited on the cruise's itinerary. By 2010, Europe could have more than a million cruise tourists.