Just over a week ago the Annual General Meeting of AENB took place. It was a memorable event between great entrepreneurs and good friends. I think we should be proud that in the depths of the darkest crisis we are able to stay united. Our union was more than evident on the 21st of February and shows our strength in the face of adversity.
As I mentioned in my speech, we are going on the fifth year of the worst crisis of our generation, a crisis that punishes the whole nautical business network and causes suffering in equal amounts for the small nautical shops in Porto Cristo as well as the big refit companies in Palma. All of them our associates, all of them equally important. The passion for our work is the force that keeps us afloat and makes us continue forward.
For this reason I dedícated a few words of recognition to various generations of entrepreneurs that carry the love of the sea in their DNA and who fight day by day to ride out this storm. Companies like Náutica Rossello and Metalnox that we had the honour to pay tribute to.
Balearics is one of the most beautiful destinations of the whole of the Mediterranean to practice recreational yachting and we offer a varied supply of nautical products and services of quality. Our companies, many of them family businesses, are formed by good and experienced professionals.
But little does it serve us to be the best if the public administrations continue to hinder us with fiscal and bureaucratic obstacles. The taxation we suffer, one of the most reactionary in the whole of Europe, takes the edge of our competitiveness and scares our clients away to other destinations, cheaper and of less quality, but where they don´t have to fight with the obstacles we have here.
Certainly the current Government is showing more comprehension towards our problems, but despite some progress we are still a long way away from European wide legal and fiscal harmonization.
In the association we believe that this year, despite everything, has been a year of important advances for the sector. The new Palma Boat Show bears witness to this.
In AENB we believe the new Show is an investment in the future of our sector that will also benefit other areas, like the hotel industry, restaurants and entertainment industry. During one week, specially Palma but also the Balearics in general will be the centre of attention of the nautical world.
Palma Boat Show will be an event with the potential to attract a large amount of both visitors and professionals. A project planned by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, and financed be themselves. This demonstrates that, although affected by the crisis, we possesses a great economic potential that can be beneficial for the whole economy of the islands.
It is fair to remind that the Direction General of the Commerce and Business gave the Organizing Committee the power to modernize the Show.
The Strategic Working Group has become a meeting point between the public and private sectors in which AENB participates actively. Taxation, legislation, investments, statistics, education and training… none of the issues that we entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis has been left out.
We appreciate the contsructive attitude of both the Direction General of the Commerce and Business as well that of the Ports and Airports. They have shown at the Strategic Working Group to have a profound understanding of the nautical sector. We wish that the rest of the public organizations that participate in the Working Group would share the same views, which would certainly benefit all of us. We hope that in the coming months some proposals that the sector presented at the Working Group start to materialize, for the good of the Balearics.
We are aware that in these difficult times the public administration can´t help the private sector financially, but it can certainly help by easing our burdens. We demand to have the same legal and fiscal conditions as the rest of Europe. Balearic Islands are a nautical paradise but our potencial clients are scared away by the multiple taxes and charges. This doesn´t affect only us. These clients that decide not to come would need hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment. The visitors we attract spend even more money than golf tourists, according to a study by the Chamber of Commerce. Let us play in fair conditions and you´ll see how we´ll generate wellbeing and jobs for the community, it is what we know how to do best.