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NEWSDESK

PALMA
THE Balearic Government and nautical associations yesterday emphasised the urgency of expanding the port faciliites in Palma and Ibiza.
The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Francesc Buils, and the heads of the principal nautical associations, have agreed to open a debate about the improvement of port facilities in the Balearics and an increase in moorings.

Currently there are 19'000 moorings in the Balearics.
The Balearic Government believes that an increase of 5'000 is needed “immediately” as demand during the summer reaches 40'000.
According to employers' association, CAEB, the nautical industry brought 545 million euros into the archipelago last year. This represented an increase of 160 percent on 1994.

The number of visitors the nautical sector brought to the islands was over 294'000, an increase of 60 percent on 1994.
Miquel Puigserver, the head of the Provincial Employers' Association for Maritime Activities in the Balearics, (APEAM), said that the nautical sector was only at 50 percent of its potential.

The improvements required to fulfill the Balearics' potential in this sector was the purpose of yesterday's meeting between the Minister for Tourism and the heads of the various employers' organisations. During the course of the meeting, the book 2020: Challenges in the Nautical Industry and its Impact on Tourist Industry in the Balearics was launched.

Buils said that the Government was available to discuss the improvement and expansion of the port facilities on the islands.
He said that the renovation of the port at Palma was something that should have been begun 10 years ago and was necessary so that Palma would return to being a point of reference in the Mediterranean.

Colón de Carvajal, the Managing Director of Astilleros Mallorca, regretted that, while his company had been involved in the manufacture of boats in the eighties and nineties, that wasn't the case now.

This, he said, was due to the lack of adequate infrastructure for building yachts of more than 80 metres, which were those in demand.