By Humphrey Carter THE international Palma boat show is currently enjoying record visitor numbers and, according to the organisers, the success of this year's fair is proof that the local nautical industry is in good shape. The show opened on Saturday and during the first three days, 16'000 visitors flooded through the gates with the busiest day being May Day Monday when 7'000 people headed to the show. Over the past few years, the nautical sector has not only had to combat growing competition across the Mediterranean, but also restrictive local politics. Since the year 2000, the Balearics has faced growing competition from cheaper developing destinations along the North African coast and the revival of once popular sailing destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Croatia. However, the change in local government and its pledge to support and help the nautical industry appears to have listed the sector's spirits. At the last boat show all the talk was about the need for more government assistance, extra moorings, especially for larger super yachts and less restrictions. This year the Balearic government has made a concerted effort to promote the region's nautical industry overseas, especially in the tourism sector, and is helping to improve and expand marinas and moorings. Apart from this week's show being bigger than ever and featuring the largest floating boat show in the Mediterranean this year, the event is also being used as the back drop for a series of international launches and presentations - from regattas to the latest developments in the nautical world. Today, for example, the first ever on-line mooring reservation system in the Mediterranean will be unveiled to the nautical industry at the Real Club Nautico. Hooknautic.com has been invented and designed by Baltasar Estarellas, who will present the system accompanied by the Balearic director general for trade and industry Gabriel de Juan. The on-line service will enable users to book moorings, berths and dry stock space in the Mediterranean from the comfort of their home, office or boat. The website will also offer real time images of the mooring, berth or marina the users is interested as well as the complimentary services provided in the port. The boat show closes its doors on Sunday night.
NAUTICAL SECTOR SHINES AT SHOW
UNIQUE MOORING BOOKING SYSTEM TO BE UNVEILED TODAY
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