Pollensa.—From January to June this year, the regional Ports Authority (APB) reported yesterday, 222 cruise ships stopped off in the ports of Palma, Mahon, Ibiza and Formentera, compared to the 283 which docked in Balearic ports during the same period in 2011. Analysed by individual ports, the only location where the number of cruise ship stop-offs actually increased during the first half of the year, by 4%, was in Ibiza; whilst Mahón and Palma registered downturns of 6 and 29% respectively. In June alone, 61 cruise ship stop-offs were made in Balearic ports, 25 less than last year. In Palma, 39 cruise liners docked, 5 in Mahon and 17 in Ibiza.

So far as the actual number of passengers was concerned, 413'324 people cruised to the Balearics in the first half of 2012, 26 percent (141'577) less than from January to June 2011.

Asked on the causes of the downturn in cruise ships in the Balearics, the regional Ports Authority said that this year has been a period of “adjustment” after the spectacular increase in the cruise industry during 2010 and 2011, particularly following political turnoil in North Africa when many ships were diverted to the Balearic Islands. “Now the figures have returned to normal,” said an APB spokesman, adding that the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy last summer meant that there were few people wanting to go on a cruise in the low season to the Balearic Islands. The APB said that competition from boats cruising the main ports of the eastern mainland of Spain has also reduced passenger numbers.

The APB are predicting that by the end of the year, cruise liner stop-offs will have increasedby 27% in Ibiza, 5% in Minorca but will fall by 23% in Palma.