Government and cruise industry representatives in Palma on Thursday. | Pere Bota

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On Thursday, agreement was signed to limit the number of cruise ships in Palma. Spain's secretary of state for tourism, Fernando Valdés, described this as "historic" in terms of the cruise industry's commitment to sustainability.

At the Palacio de Congresos in Palma, the CLIA Cruise Lines International Association signed the memorandum of understanding with the Balearic government that will limit the arrival of cruise ships until 2026. There had been agreement in principle at a meeting in Hamburg in December last year. Thursday's signing was therefore confirmation of what was agreed some months ago.

What it means is that no more than three cruise ships per day can stop over and that only one of the three can be a so-called mega-cruise ship with more than 5,000 passengers. For the current year, four ships per day can be in port for a maximum of eighteen days during the year. From 2023, this will no longer apply.

The director of the CLIA in Europe, Marie-Caroline Laurent, said that companies are committing to implement a joint vision with the Balearic government for the sustainability of cruise activity in Palma. There will be a benefit for the city because of a staggered arrival of cruise ships.

President Armengol thanked the CLIA and the cruise operators for their commitment to reaching the agreement. "We have been working for two years to achieve this agreement and to balance the arrival of cruise ships according to criteria of quality rather than quantity. We want to be a leading destination in terms of cruise tourism sustainability and so end overcrowding and seek the highest quality of life for residents."

The Palma agreement is the second for a Mediterranean port. Dubrovnik has a similar arrangement.