According to the leading article published in this morning’s edition of Spanish newspaper La Razon under the headline “Gibraltar, from tax haven to real estate business“, the governing authorities in Gibraltar aim to convert the rock into a major tourist destination.
The paper claims that British architect Norman Foster has designed a macro marina project with 500 berths for yachts and cruisers of all sizes, hotels, leisure complexes with cinemas, a museum and a shopping center, and 15 buildings including 4 high-rise apartment blocks the largest of which has 26 floors.
La Razon (one of Spain’s right-wing papers, never known to mince its words) writes “Peter Caruana (Chief Minister in Gibraltar) intends to leave a pharaonic proyect as his legacy to the colony so that he will be remembered by future generations”.
According to the paper which claims to have seen the plans of the project, the size of the complex is 308,000 sq.
metres and its cost is 2,500 million euros.
If the story is true, there will be much protest in Spain where political and business leaders are fiercely critical of the the fiscal status of Gibraltar where the VAT tax is still not applied. Such are the tax advantages of having a business in Gibraltar that there are more offshore companies registered on the rock than inhabitants.
Meanwhile, tourism is a key sector of the Spanish economy, especially in southern Spain, and Gibraltar is located right in the middle of the Costa del Sol, one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. The marina project in Gibraltar will be seen as unfair competition by the Spanish tourism industry and is bound to become yet another divisive issue be be included in the agenda of future meetings planned between Britain, Spain and Gibraltar.