Not only is the 33rd edition of the Palma Boat Show enjoying brisk business and a great deal of interest, so too are Balearic marinas and yacht clubs. For a number of years, the charter market in particular, was restricted by the controversial matriculation tax Spain charged. But since that was scrapped two years ago, the word has finally got around the global nautical grapevine that Spain, in particular the Balearics, is very much open for business and this year demand for moorings is far out stripping supply.
The warnings have been on the wall for the best part of a decade that more moorings were needed in the Balearics, due to the islands’ close proximity to one another, making the region an ideal cruising destination, not to mention the infrastructure, luxury hotels and restaurants, etc.
This year, according to Portbooker, which is based in the ParcBit technology park, demand for moorings is currently 20 per cent higher than this time last year and that figure is expected to increase further as the season gets under sail. As it stands, booking a berth for July and August is more or less impossible in the Balearics and that is leading to the lengthening of the nautical season in the Balearics, with people opting to book moorings in either June or September - good news for the local marine industry and all the related sectors.
So, not only are the hoteliers and resorts going to enjoy a longer season this year, so too is the nautical industry. Portbooker manages some 8,500 moorings around the world: 12 per cent of these are here in the Balearics and their main clients are foreign - from the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany, for example - although the domestic Spanish market has shown signs of picking up over the past 12 months, thus mirroring the recovery in the holiday market.
On average, moorings are hired for 6.7 days while the average length of the vessel, be it a motor boat or a sailing yacht, is 14.5 metres.
However, over the past few years, a significant number of moorings in the region’s main marinas have been extended in order to cater for the new breed of super yachts, and we have already seen some of the largest in the world cruise into Balearic waters this year.
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