The Alcudia-Toulon service was mainly responsible for the increase in passenger numbers. | Elena Ballestero

Balearic Ports Authority figures show that in 2018 Alcudia's port had the greatest relative passenger growth among the five state ports.

Overall, 8.9 million passengers passed through the ports, a rise of eight per cent compared with 2017. Of these, almost two and a half million were cruise ship passengers. Alcudia's passenger numbers grew 32%. The principal reason for this was the new Corsica Ferries service to Toulon. In absolute terms, the port's passengers went up from 400,000 in 2017 to 536,000 last year. The number of cruise passengers at Alcudia increased by ten per cent.

Enrique Oliver, CEO of consignee Grupo Verlio, says that the Toulon route is set to establish itself as a genuine and useful connection. This year, as well as French tourists coming to Alcudia, there is to be emphasis on the route being an alternative for residents going to mainland Europe. Service frequencies are to increase this year.

There used to be a service between Alcudia and Sète. It ceased to operate partly because it was slow. The revival of a southern France route has been based on more modern and quicker ships.

At the other ports, Palma had 17% growth in passenger numbers, La Savina four per cent and Ibiza two per cent. Mahon, on the other hand, experienced an 11% decrease.