Sunday, June 9, 2013

Letter from the President - June 2013

The month of May was very intensive for the nautical sector. We started the month with the Palma Boat Show, a success when it comes to both exhibitors and the number of visitors, and we finished the month listening to the serious declarations by the President of the Port Authority, accusing the nautical sector of handling large sums of black money. And in the middle, a magnificent report in the prestigious newspaper El Pais, defending the nautical sector. Lets deal with these issues one at a time.

The Palma Boat Show was a success. The media, the political class and the entrepreneurs agree on this. Besides, the number of visitors was excellent, at least 30.000 people. As if not enough, this year, for the first time in history, a member of the royal family visited the Show. Support of this kind is priceless. The association was there too at the ground level, giving support to all of you according to our best possibilities, taking photos of your wonderful stands to post them in the social media, and sharing experiences with a number of entrepreneurs. We learned about your new products and joined in your fantastic parties. It is during moments like these when you finally see the fruit of all the hard work during the past year and realise what a great Show we managed to put together. The truth is, without you this Show would not have been possible. Therefore, in the face of the next year´s Show, we ask you to let us know your opinion again: what would you like to improve, what else would you include / take out and what kind of Show you would like to have in 2014? We commit ourselves, as members of the Organizing Committee and with your help, to work towards a Show that is each time more attractive and profitable for everybody. 
Within the framework of the Show, some of the biggest players in the sector met up during the conference “Blue Growth in the Mediterranean”. During this encounter it was made clear how important the nautical sector is for the whole economy of the country and how damaging the matriculation tax is. Myself, on behalf of AENIB and CMIB (Balearic Maritime Cluster) had the honour to give a talk in which I portrayed the nautical sector on the islands.

A few days ago the President of the Port Authority, José Mª Urrutia, assured in an interview by the Ultima Hora newspaper that in the balearic nautical sector “exists an important movement of black money” in his exact words. This is a very serious accusation, bordering on slander and totally without foundation. It is an offense towards the immense majority of the companies that earn our living in the nautical sector, that comply religiously with our obligations towards the Tax Office and fight daily to survive the unbearable money collecting fervour by the Port Authority, whose inflexible and arrogant policies do not in any kind of way correspond with the acts of support that the President of the Government promised for the nautical sector. Besides, all that with an aggravating factor that we in the nautical sector provide 40% of the income of the Port Authority. Together with the other main representatives of the recreative nautical sector we wrote a letter in which we criticized severely the statements by Mr Urrutia, as well as demanded political consequences (apart from a rectification, which is taking time to materialize). We also made it clear that the Port Authority should not be an organization that achieves benefits to the detriment of the nautical industries by bleeding them dry. It should be the opposite: they should facilitate the work of hundreds of companies that create jobs, so necessary nowadays in the recreational nautical sector.

Finally I would like to transmit our congratulations to the EL Pais newspaper for their article “Nautical sector begs for a lifeline”, published on the 24th of May. The article makes a very sharp analysis of what our sector represents and what it needs. Besides, the article makes it clear that the Direction General of the Merchant Navy, trough its general director, Rafael Rodriguez Valero, gives us their total support. Very seldom, if ever, has a newspaper of this caliber paid attention to us, and we appreciate this greatly. Specially when they qualify nautical activities as common pastime. The old prejudice of the yachting being a rich man´s hobby is is slowly going to disappear.

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