STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
PALMA was reported yesterday as being the third most visited port on the Mediterranean cruise run after Barcelona and Civitavecchia in Italy.
Figures showed that between January and November this year, no less than 1'043'633 passengers came to the Balearic capital, representing a growth of 13 percent over and above the same period in 2006. These results are an unprecedented record for the Balearic Ports Authority (APB) who wanted to celebrate the “past the one million mark” with a commemorative act. It took place yesterday at Docking Bay No. 4 in Palma with tributes being paid to the cruise lines operating in and out of the capital. The cruising success is considered of such “historic” importance to the Balearic economy that the event was attended by no less than the Islands' president, Francesc Antich; the leader of the Council of Majorca, Francina Armengol; the head of the Balearic Ports Authority, Francesc Triay and the mayoress of Palma, Aina Calvo. Other senior figures in the industry were also present and speeches underscored the hard work carried out by promoters to foster the cruising tourism in the region. Francesc Antich said that the “floating holiday” success fitted in well with what his Administration had planned in order to expand and diversify tourist options without destroying more Island territory. Every year, cruising tourism brings in yet more income and in 2005, the figure reached 65 million with 50 percent of clients saying they wanted to “repeat the experience.” Antich said it was clear that in order to encourage yet more growth in this sector, the regional government would need to fund an upgrade and extension of present docking facilities. The Balearic Ports Authority went on to officially announce the construction of a new jetty in Palma's West quay which will allow the simultaneous docking of two large cruise ships, whereas currently only one at a time can moor up. Measuring 380 metres in length and 30 metres wide, the new facilities will come into service in the Spring of 2009. The project will need funding to the tune of 23 million euros.

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