Spain is one of the world’s most popular destinations welcoming more than 83 million people from around the world each year. A cruise is one of the best ways to experience its beautiful coastlines and islands, including the famous Canary Islands and Balearics Islands.

The city of Palma in the Balearic Islands is a magnet for visitors with its vibrant neighbourhoods, fantastic climate, and wonderful beaches, as well as its bustling cafes, restaurants, and nightlife. Palma offers something for everyone. Popularity also brings challenges. There were 16.45 million tourists in the Baleares Islands in 2019 and the island of Mallorca received almost 12 million visitors. While only a small percentage of these visitors arrive by cruise ships, the cruise industry is stepping up to help the city to manage visitor flows. As a result, cruise lines operating in the islands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Balearic Islands on sustainable cruise tourism in the port of Palma.

A Memorandum of Understanding for the sustainability of cruise tourism in the port of Palma

The Government of the Balearic Islands and cruise lines operating in the islands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sustainability of cruise tourism in the port of Palma. Attended by the President of the Balearic Islands Government, Francina Armegnol, the signing of the MoU is another positive demonstration of the industry’s commitment to responsible tourism.

The five-year MoU, which runs until 2027, aims to facilitate the management of cruise ship arrivals in the port of Palma, staggering arrival times to flatten peaks of activity. From 2022 a total of three cruise ships will arrive in Palma on the same day, and only one of them may have a capacity of more than 5,000 passengers

President Armengol commented that the collaboration was essential to understanding the specific characteristics of Palma to identify the right solution for the island.

Why is this important?

The Manifesto introduces transparent and workable systems to ensure smooth port operations and avoid congestion in the old city during peak times.

Cruise tourism brings positive economic and social benefits to destinations. A study commissioned by CLIA from consulting firm Deloitte calculated that the cruise industry generated €520 million in the Balearic Islands during 2018.

Barcelona is another global destination and a leading cruise port. Here again the cruise industry aims to show its leadership in responsible tourism. Cruise lines operating in Barcelona have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the port to work together to accelerate the introduction of shoreside electricity at the port.
Importantly, the port and city council have also signed an agreement for cruise terminals to be located in the Adossat Pier, away from the city. In 2019 air quality study by the public entity Barcelona Regional, found the largest source of emissions was road traffic generating 60% of emissions in the city.

Collaboration to accelerate the introduction of shoreside electricity at the port of Barcelona

The Port of Barcelona, Barcelona Cruise Port, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Royal Caribbean Group, MSC Cruises, NCL Holding, Viking Cruises and Virgin Voyages have signed an agreement to actively collaborate in the electrification project of the port area. The signatories agreed to create a working group to speed up the connection of ships to the general electricity grid once they are docked, using clean energy that is certified 100% renewable. This group will work to align ground infrastructures with fleet availability.

Presentation of the agreement at the Seatrade Cruise Med fair in Malaga 2022. This collaboration between the public and private sectors will make it possible to comply with European requirements for the availability of electrical connection on shore for ships in 2030.

According to calculations by the Port of Barcelona, the electrification of all the cruise berths, the Prat wharf, and the ferry terminals of the Sant Bertran dock and the Costa wharf will mean the elimination of 66,000 tons of CO2 and 1,234 tons of NOx from emissions from port activity. This means cutting 38% of the NOx and CO2 emitted by ships during their stay at the dock and that 22% of NOx and CO2 emissions from all port activity will be eliminated.

Nexigen, the name given to the project to electrify the Port of Barcelona's docks, requires an investment of €110 million euros and is a key element in achieving the goal of being a climate-neutral port by 2050. The first cruise ships will be connected to the port power grid in 2026.

Local suppliers to the global cruise industry are many and varied. From magicians to piano tuners, local businesses supply the world’s ocean cruise lines when they stop in port in Barcelona.

Watch the case of the piano tuner: