The nautical sector claims its role as an economic engine in the Balearics in general and Mallorca in particular, both as a tourist center for yachts and for the nautical industry that is based on this island as a key point in nautical tourism in Europe and the Mediterranean. Boating represents a relevant activity in the tourist value chain since it allows economic diversification, seasonal adjustment and quality employment. However, despite its strategic relevance in the islands, it is a great unknown for Balearic society. This was expressed by prominent experts who participated in the Nautical Forum Mallorca held at the Daily Club from Mallorca.
The Forum brought together the main agents of the island’s nautical industry, with special attention to the world of large yachts, in a face-to-face event, which could also be followed at streaming.
The event, organized by Diario de Mallorca with the help of the Balearic Marine Cluster, had the collaboration of the Mallorca Tourism Foundation of the Consell de Mallorca. Two round tables were held, one focused on the nautical industry and the “refit” and another on Mallorca as a tourist destination.
Nautical destination par excellence
The nautical tourism round table highlighted both that the island is the preferred destination for boats that sail the Mediterranean due to its obvious advantages and that it acts as a pole of attraction for those who want to rent a boat and move along the coasts of Mallorca and the Balearic Islands.
In this colloquium they were present Corinna Graf, CEO of Puerto Portals, Carlos Sanlorenzo, Secretary General of ANEN (National Association of Nautical Companies); the Minister of Tourism of the Consell de Mallorca, Andreu Serra and the broker Natascha Weber.
The intervention of Carlos Sanlorenzo served to verify the positioning of the Balearic Islands with respect to the rest of the country. Sanlorenzo indicated that from Madrid the islands are seen as the driving force in the nautical sector by all indicators. This is how he affected the economic data that are conclusive. Since 2011 and until the appearance of Covid-19, the sector grew between 7 and 11 percent. With the pandemic, it came to a standstill and was reduced by 80% but went back in four months.
Sanlorenzo stressed that Mallorca is a benchmark as a nautical and industrial destination par excellence in Europe. He argued that it attracts a quality international tourist and warned that it is necessary to focus on other European competitors to gain competitiveness. He established as main challenges of this sector, innovation, training, sustainability and environmental care.
Natascha Weber is a specialist in large yacht charters. He argued that Mallorca is attractive “because it has everything with a five-star hotel offer.” With the VAT reduction “we are cheaper than other destinations to attract yacht charter tourism.” As CEO of Puerto Portals, Corinna Graf knows closely the advantages of nautical tourism in the archipelago. The first, “to be a strategic and privileged point in the Mediterranean.” In his view, it has the competitive advantage of having “many years of experience as a mature destination.” “The islands must be protected because they are a natural value but without excessive prohibitions.”
The center of the Mediterranean
The Minister of Tourism of the Consell de Mallorca, Andreu Serra, highlighted that nautical tourism is essential in the tourist value chain. He recalled that the island is geolocated in the center of the Mediterranean and has good connections to be a leader. “It is an ally for diversification and seasonal adjustment”, wielded Serra. He considered that nautical is broad and transversal and attracts cultural, sports, Premium and MICE or Congress tourism. “The tourist seeks experiences, connecting with the culture of the island and nautical has a relevant value in this area,” he added. The investment of more than one million euros that the Consell has applied in promotion demonstrates the relevance of the sector due to its economic impact.
The nautical industry
At the table focused on the industrial aspect, the island’s offer for the refit, the repair and maintenance of large yachts, a business that moves hundreds of millions of euros per year and in which Mallorca is positioning itself as a great destination. This table featured an outstanding line-up of speakers such as the president of the Port Authority, Francesc Antich; the general manager of Astilleros de Mallorca, Diego Colon de Carvajal; el CEO de STP Shipyard Palma, Jose Maria Campuzano; Toni Salom, from Nautipaint, who intervened on behalf of the Balearic Marine Cluster, which brings together these companies; Y Peter Brown, director del GYG (GY Group).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.