Staff Reporter

PALMA
DEGO Colon de Carvajal, president of the large yacht association, said that the industry for large boats has “structural, legislative and fiscal problems” and called on Balearic leader Jaume Matas for his support, to prevent losses from chartering.

Colón de Carvajal had talks with Matas yesterday, a follow-up to a meeting held 18 months ago in which Matas proposed the creation of an association to help defend the interests of large yachts (more than 24 metres long).

He said that the industry of large yachts is unknown in Spain and until the association was set up, there was a vacuum when it came to protecting their interests and separated their activity from another type of nautical industry involving smaller problems. “This industry has problems and it is time that Spain considered developing a suitable and specific legislation, Colón de Carvajal said yesterday.
He said that the association he presides has members in Catalonia and Galicia as well as the Balearics.
Surrounding countries, he said, are giving a lesson on how to promote this type of large yacht in its ports.
He added that the archipelago is a pioneering region in the sector as far as shipyards and maintenance is concerned, because it started to develop this industry at the start of the 1980s “and has ten to 15 years' advantage over the rest of the country.” Colón de Carvajal claimed that Spain does not appear in the international catalogue for the market, and yachties are advised not to charter in this country “because of the problems which may arise.” The yachting sector has been demanding an increase in the number of berths in the Balearics which has 68 marinas and sports ports offering nearly 20'000 berths.

Sources in the sector claim that some 3'000 additional berths are needed to cater for demand in the summer.
According to the Spanish Federation of Sports Ports, the Balearics is the region with the most sports ports, and the second when it comes to the number of berths (19'561), beaten only by Catalonia with 30'492 (figures refer to 2004).

Various yacht clubs have applied for permission to expand their installations, a move which is opposed by environmentalists, who claim it will destroy the delicate ecosystem of the seabed.

According to the Balearic business association CAEB, the nautical sector injected 422'877 million euros into the local economy in 2005.

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