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DEAR SIR

I refer to the recent press conference in Palma held by the Majorca Chamber of Commerce with specific reference to the opportunities for yachting in the region.

I was at the conference myself and would like to share with your readers the two questions I asked the panel at the meeting, and the reasoning behind them. I believe that these are important points that the general public may not be fully aware of, and I did not see them mentioned in the coverage by any of the local newspapers.

1) There was much talk at the press conference about moving the control (read income) of all the Balearic ports from central government to the autonomous region.

Few of us would disagree with this in principle, and certainly for the yachting industry, one would hope that this would lead to better strategic planning for leisure marine activities within the port structures.

But, how can we be assured that the ports will provide a truly competitive service in every sense of the word?
I would suggest that if they cannot wake up to the changing world that we all now live in, and adjust their prices and service level in line with today's customer expectations, then any revenues from this source received by the region in future will be on a diminishing basis rather than on a growth trend! 2) The Majorca Chamber of Commerce have been instrumental in the negotiations to bring some of the America's Cup sailing world series events to Palma next year. I would like to know if this possibility depends on the provision of public funding? If so how much? (Up to 5 million euros has been rumoured as being required to stage the events.) In view of the protracted litigation that preceded the last America's Cup finals in Valencia, it is well known that many sponsors have ceased to support teams that might have competed for the next America's Cup.

The likelihood is that the so called World Series events will be contested by no more than eight 14 meter catamarans. Hardly a sight that will dominate the skyline across the Bay of Palma, and highly unlikely to bring any significant increase in foreign revenues to Majorca.

Its fine for me if some private businessman are willing to take a risk whilst making Larry Ellison (owner of the defending AC team) even richer than he already is. But I absolutely cannot see the justification for risking the tax payer's money on such a tenuous investment, when our existing yachting industry can give us such rich returns if only the fiscal shackles (read punitive taxes) are removed without delay.

Yours Sincerely,

Peter Franklin.
The Islander.