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Montevideo, September 24th 2018 - 09:50 UTC

Gibraltar complains about queues at the border with Spain; drop in tourism expenditure

Monday, July 27th 2015 - 05:30 UTC
Full article 14 comments
“The effects of these seem to be designed to cause as much disruption as possible,” said Deputy Chief minister Dr Garcia “The effects of these seem to be designed to cause as much disruption as possible,” said Deputy Chief minister Dr Garcia
Drop in tourism expenditure could reflect “the impact of frontier delays on cross-border traffic”, said a report tabled at Gibraltar's parliament Drop in tourism expenditure could reflect “the impact of frontier delays on cross-border traffic”, said a report tabled at Gibraltar's parliament
Spanish minister Fernandez Dias said the system was intended to facilitate the transit of people and vehicles to Gibraltar and is 'operating normally and 100%' Spanish minister Fernandez Dias said the system was intended to facilitate the transit of people and vehicles to Gibraltar and is 'operating normally and 100%'

The Gibraltar Government has included the long queues of last Thursday afternoon at the frontier with Spain in its latest report to the European Union. Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said the report will be presented “in order to draw attention to the manner in which the Spanish government is implementing the recommendations made by the commission”.

 “The effects of these seem to be designed to cause as much disruption as possible,” added Dr Garcia. The picture shows the extent of the queue at the border on Thursday afternoon.

Last week also the Gibraltar government released a report saying tourist expenditure on the Rock has dropped by over £111 million since 2011. In effect expenditure plummeted from £279.79m in 2011 to £168.04m in 2014, according to the 2014 Tourist Survey Report tabled in Parliament during the budget session.

The drop reflects “the impact of frontier delays on cross-border traffic”, together with other factors including a weak Euro against the Sterling pound and lower petrol prices.

The queues which started on Thursday early afternoon began when the new passport e-gates at the frontier going into Spain became operational. At one point the waiting time was as long as 40 minutes in the heat of the afternoon, but there were reports of some people having to wait up to an hour and the queues lasting late into the evening.

The reports to the EU by the Gibraltar Government are sent periodically and also carry photographic evidence.

In a statement the Gibraltar Government said that whilst the Spanish authorities may claim that they were merely testing new security equipment at the frontier, the Gibraltar Government will stress that the equipment was being tested just at the time which would cause the maximum disruption.

“The main impact of the delays was on persons who work in Gibraltar and who live in Spain, including many thousands of Spanish workers who commute in and out of Gibraltar every day, as well on people coming to Gibraltar on a tourism visit or on business,” said Dr Garcia adding that the consequence of the new systems being conducted by the Spanish authorities on pedestrians was felt particularly strongly by the elderly, young children and disabled persons in wheelchairs who were made to wait to cross the border from Gibraltar into Spain.

Meanwhile Europa Press reported Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz had visited the port of Algeciras on Thursday to see at first hand the new intelligence system in place.

Commenting on the new operation at the border he explained how following the recommendations of the European Union, the Spanish Government had installed the system “to facilitate the transit of people and vehicles to Gibraltar.” He added ”it is operating normally and one hundred percent.”

Fernandez Diaz further explained that the system had first come into play at the border earlier than the commitment made by Spain to the EU. He explained there were 13 booths installed in the area.

Finally as to the report tabled in Gibraltar's parliament referred to tourism expenditure, also cautioned that the expenditure estimate is a ‘finger in the air’ snapshot partly based on sample interviews rather than empirical data, adding that other indicators point to resilience in Gibraltar’s tourism product.

The number of visitors staying in hotels has increased and they are staying longer, as well as spending more. Likewise, cruise excursionists are growing in number and expenditure.

Categories: Politics, Tourism, International.

Top Comments

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  • Skip

    So Spain STILL hasn't gained anything from this?

    Wow takes those Spaniards awhile to cotton to failure..... probably why their economy tanked so badly.

    Jul 27th, 2015 - 07:51 am 0
  • Conqueror

    Spain is little different to argieland. I recall Margallo visiting Timerman to see whether they could co-ordinate their childish activities to force courageous people to their will. We talk a lot about the Falkland Islands, but what about Gibraltar? Gibraltar was captured in 1704. In 1713, it was formally ceded to Britain in perpetuity. The infamous Treaty of Utrecht. Except that it isn't “a” treaty but a number of treaties. There were interesting features. Most especially, the only “waters” included in the treaty were in the Port of Gibraltar. However, during the remainder of the century Spain breached the treaty a number of times. Most notably by the number of sieges Spain conducted. It seems strange to repeatedly lay seige to a piece of territory one has ceded. Spain also claimed that Britain breached the treaty by allowing people to live there that the treaty said should be excluded. The beginning of Spain demanding compliance with certain treaty provisions whilst ignoring others. And so it has gone on. Spain seems incapable of understanding that it is not the 18th century anymore. When UNCLOS was being signed, Spain tried to include a clause excluding Gibraltar from having any territorial waters except those contained within the port. However, it was made claear by the UN, at the time, that Spain's clause had no effect. Gibraltar would still be entitled to territorial waters in common with other coastal territories. It is unfortunate that Britain does not take a legal and forcible response. Britain acts in accordance with UNCLOS, permitting “innocent passage”. It doesn't deploy the naval forces that would allow it to force Spanish vessels to stay on their side of the Bay of Gibraltar. And so Spanish vessels attempt to take “executive action” in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. And the Gibraltar Squadron tries to counter 1,000 tonne Spanish vessels with 24 tonne launches. Gibraltar needs a frigate. At least. Ready to take appropriate action.

    Jul 27th, 2015 - 09:35 am 0
  • brucey-babe

    Agreed 100% Conqueror.

    Jul 27th, 2015 - 10:32 am 0
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