STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THERE will only be 49 cruise ships coming to Palma next month, a drop of nearly 20 percent on the number which docked in the capital in August 2008.
The downturn of 19.6 percent is particularly noticeable against the figure for the whole of the 2009 cruise ship schedule in the Balearics which has dropped by 12 percent. Nevertheless, things aren't as bad in Palma as they are in Minorca where instead of the 16 cruise ships which docked in 2008 during August, only 11 have booked to moor up this year - a decline of 31.2 percent.

Ibiza is the only island in the Balearics where there will be an increase in the number of visiting cruise liners next month - 13 will arrive in August as opposed to 12 which docked there in 2008.

Things will change significantly in September, however. Palma is expecting 65 cruise ships, 16.5 percent more than moored up during the same month in 2008, and 14 will be visiting Mahon on Minorca, a turn-up of 16.6 percent on September in 2008. Ibiza meanwhile will have three ships less that month - 16 docked in the port in 2008 but only 13 will be visiting in September this year. Last year, 1.3 million visitors came to the Balearics on cruise ships converting the Islands into the second most popular stop-off in the country after Barcelona where, for the first time, more than 2 million tourists cruised in. By the end of 2008, more than 5.8 million cruising enthusiasts had visited Spain, nearly 17 percent more than in 2007.

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