As Gibraltar International Magazine reaches its Silver Jubilee, Tony Alan looks back over the history of the magazine, and pays tribute to the Sponsors who have made it all possible.
I n early 1997 a London based magazine publishing group, run by Director Anthony Bernard and partners, came across a magazine promoting the benefits of finance and business between the Channel Island of Jersey, and the UK, most prominently the City.
The group had, since 1984 published a prestigious hotel magazine on the Costa del Sol named Marbella Life, which ran a section promoting the tourist side of visiting Gibraltar to hotel guests during their holiday. They wondered if there was a similar magazine promoting the finance and business sectors in Gibraltar, and so they set about doing research.
Through a well-connected contact in the City, it soon became clear that while the finance and business sectors of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man were well known in the UK, Gibraltar was less so, and there was clearly no magazine doing any promotion. Shockingly, some of the comments received in the City were quite unbelievable: “Gibraltar, that’s just a military base, isn’t it?” and “Gibraltar, that’s in Spain, isn’t it?”
Gibraltar Finance Centre
With the clear misunderstanding of what Gibraltar had to offer, the group approached Anthony Fisher, who was at the time the director of the Gibraltar Finance Centre (now Gibraltar Finance) at the end of 1997 to ask him if he would be interested in helping them get a promotional magazine off the ground between Gibraltar and the UK. The timing could not have been better, as Mr Fisher was in fact launching his own Gibraltar / UK finance and business promotion, and so he welcomed the idea with open arms.
After he had put the group in contact with all the ‘movers and shakers’ in Gibraltar at the time, who greatly supported the magazine, the very first edition of Gibraltar International Finance and Business Magazine was launched in the summer of 1998, with Peter Bond as the editor and a small sales team.
Within a year it had grown and become extremely popular, not only in Gibraltar, but also in the UK, as more and more people requested to be signed up to the free subscription.
Originally the magazine was financed by adverts alone, but as the popularity and demand grew, and so of course the costs, it soon became clear, that adverts alone would not be sufficient to do what the group wanted to achieve, and so the Sponsorship was launched, as a way of Gibraltar companies joining together to promote the jurisdiction, and what it had to offer. Nothing has changed in that style of promotion, and we continue to promote companies from all sectors to the national and international markets. It is of course the Sponsors that have made the magazine a success, and without their support we would not be celebrating 25 years! On behalf of the Gibraltar International Magazine team, I would like to thank all the Sponsors, past and present who have supported us over the years.
As Gibraltar entered the new millennium, it saw many new changes. Anthony Fisher, the Finance Centre Director moved on, and was replaced by James (Jimmy) Tipping, who, along with his wonderful team, continued to support us.
The jurisdiction also saw a rise in online gambling companies setting up, following on from Victor Chandler (Betvictor), which was one of the first big gambling companies to move their headquarters to Gibraltar in 1998.
When the 2007/2008 financial crisis occurred, which caused a severe worldwide economic crisis, Gibraltar was of course affected, but due to its established finance and business sectors, the jurisdiction recovered far more quickly than many other countries.
The power of advertising
Henry Ford, the great American industrialist, and founder of the Ford Motor Company, famously once said: “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” Unfortunately, today there are many companies, especially new ones, who do not follow his wisdom and think that they don’t need to advertise or think that free social media is all that is needed. Social media is a great back-up-tool, but should not be used as the main form of advertising. Big companies, like Coca Cola stay on top because they continue to advertise, and while one company is saving money by not advertising, their competitors are getting the business because they do. Also, some companies think that if they run one advert then the phone won’t stop ringing, but advertising doesn’t work like that, and it takes time to get your message across, and of course it is equally as important to keep that message continually active to clients and potential clients.
Over the last few years, the world has seen massive increases in price, not least in publishing. In 2022 paper prices more than doubled. Print, mailing, and distribution have also all increased in price. We have taken these price increases ‘on the chin’ and have not passed the costs over to our Sponsors by increasing prices. However, the longterm future of the magazine depends on not only the continued support of our current Sponsors, but also on new Sponsors joining the magazine to continue promoting what Gibraltar has to offer; after all, I don’t think anyone would want to go back to an era when someone in the City says: “Gibraltar, that’s just a military base, isn’t it?”