The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands (APB) has finished the improvement and refurbishment work on Harbour Station No. 1 at the Port of Palma.
The exercise of writing an introduction to summarize a financial year that has already finished has to combine what we proposed developing with what was finally achieved. Indicators of port activity provide us with are a faithful reflection of the state of the economic structure of a particular territory. The year 2016 saw the trend to economic recovery continue in terms of macroeconomics and the outstanding sector was that driven by tourism in the widest of senses.
Goods traffic continues to fulfill, with its present logistics model, its functions as the vital supplier of the goods and services that our activity requires. The best reflection of the effectiveness of the system is that well-known expression “no news is good news”. We have allowed a wide range of shipping companies to get to know the Balearic reality and we offer them what their customers require and, consequently, an accommodating public service.
Cruise activity continued its consolidation with an occasional correction in Palma and an increase in Mahón, where we intend to develop a new more exclusive itinerary in combination with other Mediterranean islands. Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily share our willingness to create a unique product based on our common history. Ibiza is a brand of wider scope and this is reflected in its increasing demand. However, cruise tourism is not indifferent to the new debate that has arisen as a consequence of its rapid growth and changes to certain ways of life at destination points. We, at the APB, would like to contribute our own ideas and, for this reason, we are drawing up a rigorous diagnosis of its impact, both economic and environmental. We believe that there is a social repercussion as a result of the quantity of general tourism, but, in the Balearic Islands, where cruise liner tourism only accounts for 2%, cruise tourists seem to be especially visible and are blamed for saturating several attractive areas of Palma. We shall share the thoughts and also solutions that fall within our power. We are loyal to our territory as well as accomplices in providing public services. The port does not create economic models; it only tries to make them possible.
Among all the public and private agencies of society as a whole, we are able to act from experience. We initiated, almost 70 years ago, a cycle of economic and social change that took us out of several historically mundane conditions. We grew as quickly as the demand required, but we lacked the criteria that now, with experience, are essential in decision taking on what we want for the future. The prerequisites, the contrast of hypotheses and appearances and opinions, the means, the forms and calculation of consequences are all ingredients that must be complimentary to a perception, which cannot be strictly emotional. What we need
are long-term visions, with perspectives of the past
– in order to learn- and of the future; to relativize, as a method, the immediate and fleeting moment that often leads to error.
Finally, we can safely state that we are continuing to consolidate the recreational boating sector. This is an activity that is creating specialist all-year-round employment and innovation. The Balearic Islands already have some competitive advantages in this activity that positively distance us from other worldwide destinations, and we now only have to be careful to keep to the path of excellence. Alcúdia and Maó now have their opportunity. Here, I would ask for a generous consensus and empathy with a society that seeks, in the long term, the professional alternatives that only this industry offers us and which is in no way incompatible with environmental conservation, and is fully compatible with human, professional and environmental development. Lastly, it is important to underline the role that the Palma Boat Show plays. This has established itself on the worldwide calendar of fairs and has made the Balearic islands a focal point for all agents who participate in the sector.
Joan Gual de Torrella Guasp
PRESIDENT OF THE BALEARIC ISLANDS PORT AUTHORITY
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