Palma.—The new Balearic government pledged to address the issue of discriminatory taxes on the nautical industry in Spain in its election-winning manifesto but, with half of the summer season already behind us little has been done at great cost to the industry.

Locally and internationally, the nautical industry has been lobbying governments at regional and national level to start by scrapping the matriculation tax, the only fiscal levy of its kind on yachts in Europe.

The matter has reached Brussels, but while the tax was deemed unfair last week, Spain has yet to react.

In the mean time, all it is serving to do is drive the charter industry away from once hugely popular destinations like the Balearics to France, Italy and Croatia where the nautical industries are being welcomed with open arms, encouraged to expand and offered fiscal incentives.

This week, the former President of the Balearic Association of Marinas, Bartomeu Bestard, claimed that the volume of business this year is 15 percent down on 2010 and that, he said translates into a loss of at least 60 million euros. “If the islands are enjoying a tourism revival and a mini-boom this summer, it's not being experienced by the nautical industry,” he added. “There are 20'000 moorings in the Balearics but they have all fallen victim to the recession and the high taxes levied on them by the Balearic Port Authority and the state.

Some industry sources working at the very top end of the luxury charter sector claim that the Balearics is losing over 500 million euros per year in exchange for a minimal collection of matriculation tax by the government.

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