Gibraltar helicopters

Gibraltar helipad

Gibraltar helicopters

Gibraltar Tourism are proud to announce that we will soon be taking bookings for helicopter tours and other services.

For an exciting and ultimate experience, whether it be for a special occasion, birthday, wedding or stag/hen do, romantic indulgence or for business, then this is the one for you.  Helicopter rides, private charter with chauffeur driven luxury heliport transfer available from Gibraltar.

Coming soon, right next to Gibraltar, a new helipad service.


So indulge yourself and experience the ride of your life.  There is no other operation available in Gibraltar itself, this service will be literally a stones throw away and all are welcome


With spectacular views of the rock of Gibraltar, Morocco, Ceuta and of course Spain, from take off to landing, this is the only way to travel.  There will be a variety of services offered on a selection of aircraft depending on your requirements.  The helipad will also be available to for landing and movements for owners who have their own aircraft.  Long overdue there will finally be such a facility.

If you are thinking of taking a private helicopter charter for a wedding, corporate purpose, sight seeing tour, or whatever your needs then email us and we’ll put you on the VIP priority list for further information.

John Middleton

Mediterranean war – Gibraltar

Mediterranean war – Gibraltar

As David Cameron joins in on the jet-ski shooting,  Russia is in the process of securing a European naval base for a fleet of warships in the Mediterranean.

Is something building as Russia flexes it’s muscles in Mediterranean?

2012 – A convoy of Russian warships pass through the Strait of Gibraltar headed for Tartus, Russian naval base in war torn Syria.

Russian convoy passes through Strait of Gibraltar 2012

But Russia is now looking to gain a strong foothold on the EU island of Cyprus.

Russia is in the midst of negotiations for a military presence on Cyprus. In addition to being part of a plan to build up its naval forces, analysts say Moscow needs to find an alternative to its base in Syria.

Reports that Russia is withdrawing all military personnel from its naval base in Syria and replacing them with civilian workers are wrong, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday (27.06.2013) in Moscow. There is no need for the military to be based in Tartus, a city on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, the press release said, “because maintenance of Russian warships was taken over by civilians long ago.”

According to the ministry’s statement, Tartus would remain Russia’s naval base within the Mediterranean. But at the same time Moscow is clearly preparing for a loss. It has long been speculated that Russia, in the event of a regime change in Damascus, would give up the Tartus base. And now it seems they have found an alternative.

Cyprus instead of Syria

The Russian government is in negotiations with Cyprus about extending their military cooperation. The Russian Air Force could use a base in Paphos, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia” radio station on Monday (24.06.2013). Cyprus and Russia will discuss the specifics soon, the Cypriot diplomat added. Military cooperation agreements could be signed within the coming months.

“This is certainly connected to Tartus,” Margarete Klein of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs says. “Even if the Russian government assumes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will retain power, it could change in the future.”

Moscow  missile cruiser

Meanwhile, Russia’s navy is paying an increasing number of visits to Cypriot ports. On June 19, three warships docked in the port of Limassol to refuel and replenish supplies. In May, it was the “Moscow” missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and the vessel that in July will take over command for the Russian Navy’s 16 ships in the Mediterranean.

Russia’s favorite in the Mediterranean

It’s no surprise to observers that Russia is looking at Cyprus for a Mediterranean base as the countries have close economic ties and Cyprus is still regarded as a tax haven for Russian companies. A few years ago, Russia loaned Cyprus billions in credit. In spring 2013, when the EU country was on the brink of national bankruptcy due to high debt, Cyprus’ leader went to Moscow to negotiate a new round of loans. Both sides couldn’t agree in that case and in the end, the European Union bailed out the island.

Back then there was speculation that Russia would offer the credit to Cyprus with the condition that the countries would expand their military cooperation. Should such an agreement come to fruition in the future, it would be a turning point. Almost 20 years have passed since Russia had a military presence in a current EU country.

In Soviet footsteps

Experts put Moscow’s plans in Cyprus in a larger context. “Russia wants to re-establish itself as a great power,” said Klein of the SWP.

Russia wants to build a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean by 2015. President Vladimir Putin described the Mediterranean as a “strategic region” in which Russia has its own interests.

During the Soviet era, between 30 and 60 Russian naval vessels were tasked with keeping US Sixth Fleet at bay. In 1992, the Russian Mediterranean fleet was disbanded, and now it seems to have been revived on a smaller scale. It is planned that 10 Russian warships will monitor the Mediterranean.

Vessels to send a clear signal

In professional circles, these plans were met with some skepticism. “I think this policy is about sending a clear signal,” Klein said, adding that the Russian Navy’s military importance is “not very big.”

Russian journalist and analyst Alexander Golz said he has a similar view of the situation. “The task of the Mediterranean fleet will be to show its presence,” he told DW.

He pointed out that the Russian Navy lacks modern warships. “Russia only has one aircraft carrier, the ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ stationed with the Northern Fleet,” added Golz.

Neither Klein nor Golz said they thought Russian warships would participate in the Syria conflict. NATO also needn’t worry, the experts said. Golz pointed out that Cyprus is not a NATO member, though two British military bases are stationed on the island, one of them in near Limassol.

The big questions is will the UK also increase military presence in the Mediterranean, more specifically the Strait of Gibraltar, under the guise of a jet-ski incident?

Aside from the Gib rubber bullet shooting incident, the launching of a cuddly commissioned and perfectly timed light hearted documentary ‘Britain in the Sun‘ which has raised awareness back home to UK citizens of the existence of Gibraltar, has been perhaps designed to stoke up some outrage and support the idea of spending money on UK naval presence in the Strait, is all a little bit too perfectly timed?  Or are we just being cynical?

Already the Daily Mail have a headline ‘Where’s Nelson when you need him?’, so patriotically appealing :-


Here on The Rock, however, the locals want rather more than desk-thumping in Whitehall. ‘We need to see a greater British presence in these waters to establish that these waters are undoubtedly British,’ Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tells me. Even though the entire political class of Gibraltar is embroiled in a heated by-election campaign, there is a solid cross-party unity on this.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

But with the poor Royal Navy enduring cuts while the Ministry of Defence flogs off old warhorses like HMS Ark Royal, there is little chance of anything substantial turning up any time soon.

And then there’s the recent meetings in London where Fabian Picardo has so obligingly agreed to international financial respectability with David Cameron.

So will we see increased military presence back here on the Rock in the months to come?

Only David Cameron can answer this one.

written by John Middleton –

Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

coral island

One of the regular visiting Superyachts to Gibraltar waters was in distress Thursday 13th June 2013 just off the coast of Sussex, UK, and called for assistance from the coastguard.

coral island off Eastbourne

The £75 million yacht, Coral Island, believed to be owned by Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, rumoured previous owner of Pelorus, the superyacht currently belonging to billioinaire Roman Abramovich, called for assistance due to a crew member having suffered unexplained facial injuries in stormy waters.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer and his volunteer crew launched shortly on Thursday with the intention of taking the battered and bruised man to the town’s hospital.

But with choppy seas and gale force winds making a seaborne rescue near impossible, the coastguard helicopter was called for.

Bob Jeffery, from the Eastbourne station, said: “It was going to be treacherous trying to safely get the man to hospital in those conditions so he was winched up by the helicopter.

“It was some vessel. The photograph of our lifeboat alongside the yacht really puts it into perspective. It dwarfed our little lifeboat.”

Mr Jeffery added that the yacht anchored half a mile from Eastbourne Pier on Thursday night as they were waiting for the crew member to be treated.

They set off early on Friday to Gibraltar, their original destination.

Coral Island, which is registered in Bermuda, has something of a colourful history.


young Picasso

She was built in 1994 and is owned by one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men, billionaire Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh.

The luxury hotel owner’s love of yachts is only matched by his passion for breeding Arabian horses.

He is rumoured to have sold his previous vessel to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

In 1999, the Coral Island was at the centre of a huge international criminal investigation.

While docked in Antibes in southern France, the Sheikh’s prized Picasso painting, his 1938 Buste de Femme, went missing.

An investigation, spanning numerous countries was launched and a £500,000 reward was offered. However the painting was never recovered.

The vessel, which costs a cool £6 million a year to run, is home to 25 permanent staff members.

Along with a Jacuzzi, four VIP suites, three speedboats and scuba diving gear, the yacht features one of the most valuable floating galleries in the world.

The art-loving Sheik has packed the yacht with a reported £151 million of paintings including works from French artist Matisse and others from Picasso.

written by John Middleton –

UK protests over Gibraltar shooting

UK protests over Gibraltar shooting

Don’t panic it’s not as dramatic as it sounds.


The BBC news headline makes it sound as if citizens of the UK are taking to the streets of London, Birmingham and all major cities in defence of Gibraltar.  No such luck, it’s just the Europe Minister David Lidington, but bless him at least he’s speaking up.

If only schools back in the UK had Gibraltar as a large part, or even small of the curriculum then maybe everyone back home would appreciate the issues.  Well we can only hope that maybe one day Gibraltar will become as familiar word as Sussex or Essex to those back in the UK.

In the meantime the BBC reported:

Britain has protested in the “strongest terms” after an “illegal incursion” by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel into British waters around Gibraltar.

Europe Minister David Lidington said a Spanish officer had fired a weapon during the incident on Sunday.

He said he had sought assurances from Spain that there would be no repeat of the incident.

Spain disputes Gibraltar’s sovereignty, which has been a British colony since 1713.

In a statement, Mr Lidington said: “I spoke today with Spanish minister for the European Union, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, in order to protest in the strongest terms following an incident on 23 June in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).

“During an illegal incursion by a Guardia Civil vessel, a Guardia Civil officer fired a weapon.

“I made clear that the discharge of a weapon in or near Gibraltar is completely unacceptable. I urged Senor Mendez de Vigo to investigate urgently and to take action to ensure that this will not happen again.

“I can also confirm that I have instructed the chargé d’affaires in Madrid to reiterate this protest in person to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to request a full explanation.”

In 2012, Gibraltar and Spain clashed over fishing rights around the territory. Gibraltar police boats confronted several Spanish trawlers after they cast their nets near Gibraltar harbour.

Perhaps if the media in the UK could offer the people of Britain a truly gripping insight into real life in Gibraltar then the people back home would understand and appreciate us.  All very well for light hearted programs such as Britain in the Sun, following a handful of privileged cranks who finish work at 2.30pm (unlike the rest of us here in Gib), but Gibraltar has so much more about her than that.  We admit it is a start to raise awareness of our existence, but do we really need ‘The only way is Gib’ because a lot of the issues are no laughing matter.

John Middleton –

World Trade Centre Gibraltar

World Trade Centre Gibraltar

For all the latest developments and news on the new WTC Gibraltar

 A new WTC is to be built here in Gibraltar, and not so far away now.  Gibraltar has made leaps and bounds in the last 12 months, with EU recognition now on the world stage of finance and with major new office development.
World Trade Centre

Companies can come and register in Gibraltar and trade throughout the European Union.  What Gibraltar has lacked, up until now, is physical infrastructure, that physical infrastructure is now becoming a reality and Gibraltar is soon to be the new home of the new World Trade Centre.

Now that’s impressive!

John Middleton –

Gibraltar tax haven or international finance centre?

Gibraltar tax haven or international finance centre?

To find out more about investing in Gibraltar click here.

Speaking from Westminster Central Hall:

An arduous 15-year journey from ‘tax haven’ to international financial centre is complete, according to those responsible for regulating and marketing the industry based in Gibraltar.

James Tipping, director of Gibraltar’s Finance Centre, and one of the chief route-planners for the journey, is adamant that its jurisdiction has arrived at its destination with integrity and reputation intact. Tipping’s work now focuses on marketing Gibraltar as a world-class finance centre and ensuring that any lingering misconceptions about the running of its business affairs are well and truly dispelled.

Ever since the start of 2011, with the enactment of Gibraltar’s new income tax act, the Rock has been classified as an “onshore” jurisdiction. With over 20 tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) now signed, Gibraltar has criminalised tax evasion and adopted all EU, OECD and international initiatives. Over the next two years, Tipping anticipates the international information exchange for tax purposes agenda will accelerate,something which, he insists, will be to Gibraltar’s good. “The Rock [Gibraltar] is committed to low tax rather than no tax and quality business is what’s sought, not quantities.”

Gibraltar’s latest action on the regulatory front has been to commit to a pilot scheme for automatic exchange of information with the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The scheme establishes a series of automatic multilateral tax information exchanges. It is based on the EU-preferred model intergovernmental agreement and is in preparation for the improvement of international tax compliance. It also prepares the ground for the implementation of the US’ Fatca model to counter tax evasion by US residents using foreign accounts.

Fabian Picardo, chief minister, says signing up to this scheme brings Gibraltar in line with the UK which is calling for regulatory continuity not just across UK dependencies and overseas territories but across the world. “This is (the) level playing field that Gibraltar has been baying for…. Gibraltar is a European territory that’s been complying with European rules now for many years. I’m very proud that in the 18 months I’ve been in government, I’ve ensured that Gibraltar has come up to date on all its European obligations, in particular those that relate to financial services.”

As for actual increased market share Tipping’s team has already fulfilled one of the government’s manifesto commitments to boost growth. Earlier this year, two key senior appointments were made to oversee strategic development in the insurance and private client sectors. Michael Ashton was taken on with responsibility to develop new insurance business, and Paul Astengo has been tasked with leading the promotion of growth in the private client sector. Both appointees report to Tipping.

More regular visits to London to win city business are planned. Gibraltar has made an annual event out of its Gibraltar Day Finance Centre lunch held in the City. The emphasis here is less on touting for business and more on forming stable new business partnerships.

James Lasry, partner of Gibraltar-based law firm Hassans, says that the Rock’s repositioning places it among the most reputable finance centres on the international stage, and guarantees it will achieve a more prominent presence in London and other capital locations. He confirms that Gibraltar is already receiving a lot of attention from the UK and Switzerland. “This isn’t just funds business, but also private clients and insurance.” The fact that more motor insurance business is currently being written by Gibraltar-based firms than by Lloyd’s of London would seem to bear this out.

With the most pivotal legislation ratified, law-makers like Hassans are concentrating on pushing forward enabling legislation that will add to Gibraltar’s overall attraction. While the number of TIEAs are stacking up, however, Gibraltar has yet to sign a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). Lasry says that the call for Gibraltar to engage in a series of DTAs with other jurisdictions was first made five years ago to the then chief minister, Peter Caruana. Lasry says, “If TIEAs are the stick, then DTAs are the carrot.” To which end, Lasry is actively wooing those jurisdictions interested in signing up to such an arrangement. “We have a working group on DTAs, and we are looking at signing a DTA with Mauritius at the moment.” Lasry excuses the time it’s taken for Gibraltar to “catch up” with other finance centres on DTAs, making the point that Gibraltar has found it hard to attract interest from other jurisdictions on account of its small size.

Nevertheless, not all industry players think DTAs are an essential tool in Gibraltar’s box of incentives. Steven Knight, chairman of Castle Trust and Chairman of the Gibraltar Association of Pension Fund Administrators (GAPFA) says DTAs don’t suit all global clients. He believes Gibraltar’s 2.5% flat rate withholding tax is actually an inducement that encourages a wider client base.

Gibraltar is already home to a good handful of international names which it hopes will serve as an advertisement for other such players. These include names such as Barclays, Lloyds TSB, SG Hambros, Credit Suisse, KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte. In keeping with the government’s aim to cultivate long term sustainable businesses in the financial sector, Tipping points out that a number of banks have recently celebrated their 25 years of local presence.

The insurance sector is a particular area where Tipping would like to see expansion imminently but he makes the point that Gibraltar has to ensure it can offer the necessary infrastructure of auditors, accountants and layers to support such growth. Gibraltar has already welcomed five new insurers: Southern Rock, Enterprise, Calpe, Preserve, and London & Colonial.

As well as attracting new industry players, the government has the task of finding a new CEO to head up its Financial Services Commission. The incumbent, Marcus Killick (pictured), who has held the post of chief regulator for 10 years, has announced he will be stepping down in September. He has been one of the longest serving heads of a financial services regulator in the world. Demonstrating the same commitment to long term continuity as is expected from industry players, Killick has declared his intention to stay in Gibraltar working in the private sector.

Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun – review

Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun – review

An eight part fly-on-the-wall, lighthearted documentary on life in Gibraltar.  Visiting varying walks of life, from Dr Eric Shaw, who affectionately looks after the apes, to the friendly Gibraltarian policemen, lifeguards and a particularly cuddly couple of jolly boys.

For those who already know or live on the rock it’s a fascinating watch, but not so sure for those who’ve never been before.  Even with the colourful editing it’s a little slow moving in pace, editorially speaking, with long shots and unnecessarily drawn out story lines, or lack of them.

eric shaw

Eric Shaw is definately the star of the show, an absolute natural in front of the camera, at ease with his animal friends, a man who comes across as relaxed and friendly, no airs and graces, just a plain old down to earth guy.  What’s not to love there?

Then there’s the ‘Jolly Boys’ Shane Athey and Tony Watkins of Dive Charters.  Just a couple of lads messing around on boats.  Running the local dive centre in Gibraltar, these two come across as playful, harmless jokers just soaking up the sun and having a bit of a laugh.  But unlike Eric Shaw, who’s daily routine, out of the oridinary, has a certain interest, there is a lack of understanding of exactly what the point is in hearing about a couple of lads having a good time in the sun.

tony watkins2

Aside from frollicking around on expensive boats and playing with torpedocams, Tony and Shane of Dive Charters are also contracted by local Marina Bay and Ocean Village Gibraltar (soon to house the new Sunborn superyacht floatel), to conduct underwater maintenance on the moorings and keep all the sailors sleeping safe in their bunks.  But does that run anymore smoothly than their boyish Laurel and Hardy antics?  Or is it just another Jolly Boy cock up?  In the words of Tony Watkins, when reviewing his video footage, ‘To be honest I don’t think it could get an awful lot worse.’

Well that’s another story coming soon …

Written by John Middleton –

Smuggling in the Strait of Gibraltar

Smuggling in the Strait of Gibraltar

It happens all the time by high powered speed boats and jet ski’s, one example is the film below which looks more like something out of an action film than reality, but is in actual fact a typical smuggling chase with the police.


Well if you do come to Gibraltar for some duty free fags or diamonds don’t forget to fuel up the jetski on cheap gas while you’re here.

Good luck

Coming soon … interview with a smuggler

by John Middleton –

Sunborn floatel arrives in Gibraltar

Sunborn floatel arrives in Gibraltar

Photographers for have the first exclusive pictures of the new Sunborn Yacht Hotel as she arrives on Gib shores upon a boat transporter.  All photos are exclusive and copyright property of Gibraltar Tourism, photos only to be used by other parties with express consent from Gibraltar Tourism

Photos taken by Adrian Warburton

More photos of the latest work and developments of Sunborn in the dry dock Gibraltar.  Coming on nicely.

sunborn latest2sunborn latestsunborn latest3


Below Sunborn arriving in Gibraltar on a ship transporter.



Gibraltar Britain in the Sun

Gibraltar Britain in the Sun

First episode attracted 1.26 million viewers

Watch episode 2 here

An eight part documentary about life in Gibraltar, but will they cover the endless bullying that goes on in Gibraltar schools, Gibraltar work places and in Gibraltarian society.  All very well filming half a dozen middle aged lucky Brits who have enough cash to start a business in the sun, or police officers and lifeguards who hold privileged positions with cushy jobs, but what about the real Gibraltarians and their stories?

Everywhere has it’s failings, and Gibraltar is a great place, sometimes, but is this series really going to just show Gib as a honey pot for those with money?

Tantalising tasters from the Daily Express by Neil Clark

Gibraltar: Little Britain in the sun

IT’S just like Britain – except that the sun shines more than 300 days a year on average and people finish work at 2.30pm between June and September so they can go to the beach. Gibraltar is visited by six million holidaymakers every year – many of them on cruise ships. But how much do we really know about everyday life in the British colony?

Nice little article to wet the appetite, even if the picture of Gibraltar rock is back to front …back to front rock

From the trailer it looks like it’s going to be a great piece of Tabloid TV.

But how will Gibraltar fair from it?  Will the participants be happy with their depictions?  Will it be a true representation of Gib and life here?  Do you know any of the characters in it?

Quote from the Guardian comments, opinions and reviews

Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun
8pm, Channel 5

There are at least two good reasons to go to live on Gibraltar: the climate is good; and, by and large, nothing much happens. Whether these are good reasons to make an observational documentary series about the tiny British Overseas Territory is quite another matter. That caveat aside, episode one of Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun does at least find some interesting characters to follow, notably Dr Eric Shaw, who looks after the island’s 200 macaques and comes across like a veteran roadie happily going to seed. Jonathan Wright

Quite right Jonathan, Eric Shaw could have gone to the hairdressers before being filmed, deary me, what’s going on with that barnet.


I’m not gonna lie I saw the trailer and watched this because of the bikini babes on the beach! 😉

But not everyone agree’s Gibraltar is a fabulous place


We (as a family) were sentenced by the R.A.F. to two and a half years in that rathole during the early seventies. The border wasn’t open and it was like a prison camp as far as I was concerned. The happiest day of my life was when we boarded a ‘plane in July 1973 to bring us back to the UK.

And much heated debate on the monkeys

They’re APES not monkeys! Hence the name Barbary Ape. Can you please stop misinforming the public on this issue.

Mandy Jewell

So looking forward to this programme. We got married in Gibraltar 3 years ago, it was our anniversary last week, so great timing for this series!

Gav Cairns

Just returned “home” to the UK after 3 yrs in Gib. You either love it or loathe it – I loved it in the main but it has to be the strangest place in the world for “weird” behaviour / habits.

Chris Ringrose

Looking forward to this although it is slightly ironic that this page comes up a blocked if viewed from Gib!