Palma.—The ten-day long “hoot” against the matriculation tax by the local and international yachting community during the Palma boat show may not have been heard in Madrid but yesterday, central government unveiled a major promotional campaign to help promote the country's key nautical destinations overseas.

Vital for the future
The Balearics is one of seven nautical locations which has signed up to the initiative which involves central and local government funding as well as private sector investment.

The campaign has been devised by the Secretary General for Tourism and Commerce, Joan Mesquida, in association with State Body for the management of Tourism Innovation and Technology and the Association of Spanish Nautical Businesses and the Spanish Tourist Board, Turespeña.

And, what is also important is that the campaign is going to be no one off, but an annual promotion.
The budget for this year's pilot scheme is half a million euros, 50'000 euros of which has come from the Balearic government via the Ministry for Tourism.

Joana Barcelo, the regional Minister for Tourism, explained yesterday that the government greatly values the importance of the nautical industry to the local economy and that it is a key tool in the drive to decentralise the industry and generate more low season tourism.

The Minister underlined the fact that there are more than 280 nautical and marine businesses in the Balearics and that, by joining forces with those on the mainland in this campaign “we can make the most of synergism to promote the sector,” she added. “The nautical industry has masses of untapped potential to create wealth and jobs and this is what we want to help encourage by promoting the sector overseas in key markets such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Russia to begin with,” Barcelo explained.

According to Joan Mesquida, nautical tourism attracted over two million people last year, 9.2 Percent more than in 2009 and that they spent 2'000 million euros.

However, the yachting industry has made it clear that that figure would be much higher if the matriculation tax is cut or scrapped.