By Daphne Hilarides
THE number of cruise ships and merchant ships stopping in Malaga Port has risen spectacularly this year.
According to Malaga’s Harbour Master, Enrique Linde, the city port is in its golden age of activity, with estimates that exceed the port’s historic records.
Just in the first five months of this financial year, the total traffic has increased by 216 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching more than 3.4 million tons. “Now we expect a plateau period, which will improve in the last months of the year,” Linde affirmed. He also pointed out that Malaga was the fastest growing port in Spain last year, and predicted even better results for 2012.
This success is due to the growth both in merchant ship traffic and cruise stopovers. Approximately 700.000 passengers will stop in Malaga this year; a third of the total amount of the world’s sea travellers. The Head of Malagaport (Malaga’s port association) Sebastian Camps predicts that cruise ship activity will decline in 2013, mostly due to changes in cruise itineraries.
However, Linde pointed out that cruise companies do not announce their routes until the season is in, making accurate predictions complicated. “Until now, this sector is behaving magnificently. This year it will bring more than 700,000 tourists to the city who will spend an average of €50 per day, injecting €35 million into the economy,” he added.