Tourism in Gibraltar constitutes one of the British Overseas Territory's most important economic pillars, alongside financial services and shipping. Gibraltar's main attractions are the Rock of Gibraltar and its resident population of Barbary macaques (or "apes"), the territory's military heritage, duty-free shopping, casinos and marinas. Although the population of Gibraltar numbers only some 30,000 people, the territory recorded nearly 12 million visits in 2011, giving it one of the highest tourist-to-resident ratios in the world.
The Government of Gibraltar has sought to develop the tourism sector to replace Gibraltar's former dependence on the British military, its chief economic mainstay until cuts in the UK's Ministry of Defence budget led to the gradual run-down in the military presence after the 1980s. Gibraltar's marinas – one of which was the first to have been built in the region – have made Gibraltar an important hub for sea transport for over 50 years. A tourist boom began in the mid-1980s but stalled by the end of the decade before being boosted again in the mid-1990s by a programme of Government investment and marketing. The building of the new Gibraltar Cruise Terminal, a new airport terminal, pedestrianisation of key streets, redevelopment of historic buildings in the city centre and improvements to tourist attractions elsewhere on the peninsula have helped to increase tourist numbers considerably since the turn of the 21st century.
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11,940,543 visitor arrivals were recorded in Gibraltar, of whom 11,424,581 arrived by land, 351,534 by sea and 164,428 by air the number of land arrivals ... Tourism is generally year-round thanks to Gibraltar's hospitable climate, with the August peak only about 50% higher than the January low ... Gibraltar's tourist trade is hindered by a number of factors ...
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“In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion.”
—Robert Runcie (b. 1921)