A few weeks ago we received the news we have eagerly waited for: charter companies and sea schools are going to be exempt from paying the matriculation tax. This historical milestone is the result of a coordinated effort by a lot of people, of hard work by ANEN and AENIB and of a personal implication by various politicians who understand our realities, not forgetting the continued support of our associates – without it we would not have been able to get this far. A few days ago we received also the official statistics regarding the nautical tourists that visit our islands annually: 450.000, a number that is likely to rise next year.
Next season the charter companies and sea schools will not be required to pay the matriculation tax. We have been working towards this for years. It is a significative step towards revoking this tax on boats completely, a tax that is unique in Europe and which makes us uncompetitive compared to our neighbours. We have been working for years together with ANEN to get rid of this burden, and along the way we have gained support from various representatives of the political and entrepreneurial sector. It has taken innumerable hours of work, meetings after meetings with various administrations on the european as well as national level, to prepare a practical strategic plan to help us to reach our goal, not to mention the economic effort required. From the next season on, the recreational nautical sector of the islands will start a path towards growth and prosperity.
However, we can´t relax in our efforts to make the Balearic Islands (and the rest of Spain) the best possible location to do business. The nautical sector is a fairly new industry and therefore we lack our own regulations that would take our peculiarities into account. We are going by the rules developed for other sectors with different characteristics to ours, which means we are continuosly losing clients, who are frightened by the spanish regulations. Instead of having their refits and repairs done here, they choose other countries with a more modern and rational legislation for the work.
A few weeks ago AENIB participated in a conference organized by the lawyer firm OQM about the environment in the nautical sector, addressing the potential of our islands as a nautical tourism destination. It was a very productive meeting, in which the participants were able to exchange opinions and worries, bearing in mind that nautical tourism is an activity that can even out the seasonality of tourism and attracts visitor with high purchasing power. Besides, we could confirm once again the willingness of the whole sector to work together to reach our goals.
A few days ago we received the information that Juan Carlos Plaza has been appointed as the Director of the Balearic Port Authority. On behalf of AENIB we would like to congratulate Mr Plaza and wish him all the best in his new post. We hope that, together with the President Alberto Pons, he is able to use all his experience and knowledge to improve the business environment of the Balearic Islands.