The Balearic government faced by undisputable facts and figures, growing pressure from the nautical industry and stiff competition from other Mediterranean destinations, is about to authorise a u-turn on its marina policies. Presenting the report of the nautical industry, 2001, in the Balearics, local Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar and president of the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations, Josep Olivar, agreed that the nautical sector is very important for the region's economy although the two men differ over exactly how many new moorings should be permitted. On the one hand the report states that the Balearics needs at least 20'000 more moorings, but the government wants to make sure that a general overhaul and improvement of marinas and facilities, causes no environmental damage. Last year, 248.725 nautical tourists visited the Balearics, either sailing or chartering yachts here. The report concludes that the vast majority are of middle to high social standing and that they spent an average of 97.2 euros per day, per capita during an average stay of 13.4 days, pumping 328'82 million euros into the Balearic economy. Last year there was a significant rise in the number of yachts being chartered in the Balearics, 34.8 per cent of the clients being Germans and 24.2 per cent British. The report, carried out by the Confederation, recommends that a much greater effort is made to promote the Balearics' nautical tourist industry, especially in key markets such as France. The number of moorings also needs to be increased with others extended to provide more room for superyachts, advice that clashes with Balearic government policy, but advice Alomar appears to have taken notice of, with the Balearic government about to embark on drawing up a new marina plan. Yesterday Alomar would not openly be drawn on whether he will give the green light for more moorings or back the freeze, however he did admit a balance has to be reached between providing a quality product and protecting the environment. The Balearic nautical industry has recently warned the government that unless it decides to compete with expanding destinations in the Med, the region will start to lose its nautical market.
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