Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter from the President - January 2014

The year 2013 that we leave behind was “big” in many ways. Twelve months of intense work that has resulted in triumphs but also made us taste the bitter chalk of disappointment. All in all, by December we have assisted in 137 events, including meetings with politicians, working groups, boat shows… Countless hours invested in one sole objective: your wellbeing as an entrepreneur. By joining our forces we have been able to break historic barriers that prevented us from prospering and making changes that would allow us to grow. We made progress, thanks to your support and our membership in ANEN, whose persistence and good work has been one of our biggest assets.

What made the biggest waves was the exemption of the matriculation tax on charter boats. It used to be an insurmountable obstacle for a lot of people who wanted to come to our islands to sail and to enjoy the unrivalled environment, one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. We can still hear the echo of Rosa Estarás asking the European Commission to pronounce against this tax in Spain (which it ended up doing). However, our battle is not finished until the tax is withdrawn from all recreational vessels. Until then we´ll be at a disadvantage compared to our competitors. In any case, we are sure that starting from next season we´ll see the Balearic Islands climb on the ranking of the best nautical tourism destinations to a position that actually corresponds to us.

Another wall that came tumbling down was the old Law of Maritime Navigation. A more than 100 year old lump of a law that didn´t distinguish a merchant ship from a yacht. For the first time ever the recreational yachting will be recognized as a separate entity in a legal aspect. To achieve this, a great amount of both human and economic resources were necessary, in elaborating extensive reports that would accurately reflect our reality in order to make the Administration aware of the need of a change in our sector. The new Draft of Law promises to be the tool to simplify our daily business activities and to finally put us in sync with the international legal framework.

This was also the year of the Palma Boat Show. Despite the crisis, the project drawn up by the entrepreneurial sector and with the participation of the Public Administrations proved to be on the right track. It was an event able to excite and attract the attention of a lot of people. A project developed to a great deal by our association based on your input and ideas. In the coming year we will continue to work in our important role in the Organizing Committee to increase the revs even further and to make Palma an international reference on the boat show calendar. For this purpose, please let us know any suggestions you may have regarding the show.

The year 2013 is almost behind and indeed leaves the bar very high. But there is still a lot to do, so many obstacles to get rid of. One of the issues that AENIB will put some effort in is the battle against the illegal street vending in the ports and marinas, a problem that in one way another affects all of us.

It wouldn´t be right to talk about all these changes without acknowledging the favorable stand the government of President Bauzá has taken towards the recreational yachting. He understands, because we have shown him, how beneficial our activity can be for the whole community. For this reason he has chosen capable persons with a vast knowledge of the sector to be in charge of the Port Authority and the Ports IB. We hope that Alberto Pons in charge of APB and David Gómez as the director of Ports IB will be instrumental in bringing order in the mess that their predecessors managed to cause.

The key for our achievements has been all of your support. The strength you give us has placed us in key positions from where to battle for the improvement of our sector. Within short the elections will take place at the CAEB, the biggest employer´s union in the Balearics. It is a platform that has proven to be very useful for the nautical sector, but which we could use even more to get our message across to the politicians, therefore we are aiming to position ourselves even better within the union.

Another field we are determined to conquer, together with ANEN, is the complete fiscal and legal harmonization of the sector at the European and international level. Despite the achievements of the past year, we are still miles away from having a rational and modern administrative framework adapted to our daily necessities. We will put our efforts in this, so we will have nothing to envy our competitors.

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