President Armengol at the opening of the Palma Boat Show yesterday. | GOIB


The 35th Palma International Boat Show was officially opened yesterday by the president of the Balearics, Francina Armengol, who proclaimed this year’s edition as "the most important in the history of the Balearics".

This year’s nautical exhibition covers an area of nearly 82,000 square metres and features a record number of exhibitors, over 300, as well as a new floating viewing platform.

"The size of the show this year is a clear indication of just how key the nautical industry is to the local community and economy and clearly demonstrates that there are other sectors and industries (as opposed to tourism) we can use to expand the regional economy," Armengol said.

The president went on to underline the importance of the nautical industry in the Balearics because, apart from the wealth it generates, it also creates quality, skilled and stable jobs. "We (as a government) have never turned our backs on the nautical industry, we have always been on hand to support the sector as much as possible," she added.

As proof of the government’s commitment to helping expand the industry, she highlighted the three new nautical schools being created in Palma, Alcudia and Mahon in Minorca which are going to be offering professional training to people wishing to work in the nautical sector.

Until very recently, the sector has depended on skilled engineers from overseas, but the Balearic government wants to balance that out and have an increasing number of local residents entering the industry.

The leader of the opposition Partido Popular, Biel Company, also stressed the importance of the nautical industry to the Balearics because "it is one of the sectors which moves the most money and creates the most jobs in the region".

However, Company did say that an extra effort could be made to make the nautical industry much more dynamic, for example by reducing the amount of red tape to the minimum in order to encourage more people to get involved in the nautical sector, be they boat owners, chandlers, charter companies or engineers.