Cruise ships calling in Gibraltar will be allowed to open their on-board casinos and shops to their passengers after 6pm, providing an incentive to remain alongside until the early hours of the following morning, was announced by the Rock’s Deputy Chief Minister Joe Holliday.
This policy decision will encourage cruise ships to extend their calls in port by staying later in the evenings bringing additional business opportunities for local traders.
Up until now, ships have usually sailed at around 5 or 6pm in order to reach international waters and be able to open their revenue-earning onboard outlets for their passengers, even if their next port of call was close by. This initiative will give both passengers and off-duty crew the opportunity of going ashore in the evenings. This means additional business opportunities and ships will save fuel by remaining tied up for a longer period of time. It will, equally importantly, enable local tour operators to offer a wider range of shore excursions for passengers who will have more time to see what Gibraltar has to offer, both on tour and independently, said Holliday.
The relevant legislation is now being drafted to allow for this initiative to become law.
Mr Holliday discussed the idea with major cruise lines during a short visit to Miami prior to the start of the Cruise Shipping Convention in March, in order to allow cruise companies to factor this opportunity into their schedules for the 2012 season.
The Deputy Chief Minister said: ”I was extremely pleased with the reaction of the cruise lines to this incentive, as it is a win-win situation for everybody. The cruise operators can offer more tours to their passengers, offer more time ashore to their off-duty crews and importantly save fuel which is their top priority at present, while Gibraltar will benefit from having ships extend their stay into the evening”.
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