The Gibraltar Government’s approach to marketing Gibraltar is bearing fruit, according to Minister for Tourism Gilbert Licudi.
Speaking during the budget debate, Mr Licudi said that in 2017 total visitor numbers were up, tourist expenditure was up almost 20%, number of coaches coming into Gibraltar was up, hotel room occupancy was up, number of cruise calls and passengers was not just up but hit record highs in 2017, number of passengers by air, despite the collapse of Monarch in early October 2017, again hit record highs in 2017.
Additionally, he highlighted the continued consistency in the cruise industry with 250 calls expected in 2018.
This represents an increase of just over six per cent on last year.
His speech covered his various areas of responsibility including tourism, the port authority, commercial aviation and maritime administration.
In respect of his responsibilities with the University of Gibraltar, Mr Licudi highlighted a number of recent developments at the institution which is now in its third year.
These include a change of management and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority being appointed as the regulator of the University.
Addressing an issue raised by GSD MP Roy Clinton in his budget speech when he argued that Government contribution to the University had tripled this year from £500,000 to £1.5 million, Mr Licudi said: “That is incorrect.”
“Government contribution to the University is in fact being reduced this year,” he added.
He said Mr Clinton had used an incorrect figure from the approved estimates.
“So what Mr Clinton has done is to use the wrong figure to reach the wrong conclusion despite the right figures being in the very same book that he has looked at.”
“The difference from what he has said and argued to the true position is quite startling.”
“From a suggestion by Mr Clinton of a 300% increase in Government contribution to the reality which is clear from the book itself and which is a reduction in contribution of almost 25%.”