A total of 78,253 cruise passengers arrived in Malta in July, 50 per cent more than in the same month last year, Valletta Cruise Port chairman Anton Micallef said yesterday.

Total cruise passenger movements between January and July totalled 279,910 compared to 225,676 registered during the same period last year – an increase of nine per cent.

In July, there was one maiden call by the Grand Princess.

Dr Micallef showed Tourism Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco around work being carried out at the port including the removal of part of the quay to allow for cruise ships bigger than 250 metres to berth along Lascaris Wharf.

This had cost Transport Malta €500,000.

Dredging works were also underway to get increase the depth to 10.5 metres from the current seven metres.

CEO John Portelli said that cruise port was continuously trying to increase its services. It had introduced water taxis and next year it would launching a service to take cruise passengers directly to Gozo from the Waterfront.

Dr de Marco said in spite of crisis in Libya and the Mediterranean, the government still managed to increase the number of tourists, who spent even more money here.

He said that investment was crucial in the area and through the development of the Barrakka lift one would be able to link Valletta to the Waterfront Terminal.

A tender to introduce a ferry service between Valletta and the three cities was also to be issued.

Dr De Marco was shown History Highlight, a 16-minute version of the Malta Experience, shown at Sacristia Vault. He was also shown around the customs area, used for home porting operations.

Transport Malta CEO Stanley Portelli said TM was investing in infrastructure providing a platform for industry.

It had invested €500,000 at Lascaris Wharf, €500,000 at Boiler Wharf, €26 million at the Deep Water Quay and €1 million to repair the Breakwater.

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