Leading cruise ship operators are looking to make Palma the main home port for ships in the Mediterranean and so take advantage of its geographical location and the ease of connections with the airport.
The Balearic Ports Authority (APB) is calculating that there will be growth of 15.8% in the number of stopovers next year. Drawing on data from Tui, Thomson, Aida, Pullmantur, Costa and MSC, this will lead to an equivalent percentage increase in the number of passenger.
Pedro Iriondo, responsible for Aida ships coming into Palma, says that the company has used Palma as a base since 1996. He stresses the economic benefit of this for the city and for Majorca. Tourists who start cruises in Palma come to the island two to three days before ships leave. Packages therefore include hotel stays in the city, and these represent 60% greater volume of business than cruise ships that simply stop over.
The APB points to an annual growth in the use of Palma as a home base. Although this growth has been uneven, the trend is positive and beneficial both to the port and to the city. To this have to be added passengers picked up because of interpointing, i.e. those who leave or join ships during its overall journey. If the number of passengers is greater than 250 or half the total, then the port is considered to be a base.
Iriondo points to the benefits for restaurants, shops, taxis and coach services. It is logical, he believes, for the APB to improve to the maximum the terminals and quality of service and so offer possibilities for yet further growth.
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