"Now is not the time to increase prices". Conscious that nowadays to increase prices is synonymous to making loss, this statement could be signed by any entrepreneur, although in this instance it is pronounced by one of the more important operators in the nautical sector, Patrick Reynés. The vice-chairman of the Association of Marinas and Nautical Installations is aware of the increase of the price-sensitivity of the sector, and explains that for the duration of the crisis they have compensated for the increasing costs their clients have to face by lowering the mooring fees, but even they are on the limit now. They have faced such setbacks that they don´t have margin for any more. Although there is more: two weeks ago the central government surprisingly approved a new tax for sea rescue, which will double the cost of the previous tax, forcing the boat owners to pay up to 500 euros more per boat annually, according to an estimate by the Association of Yacht Clubs in the Balearic Islands. Is that a lot of money? Maybe not when considering the total costs of maintenance of a boat, but it makes the situation from bad to worse: the increase comes after many other costs that affect the yachting and nautical tourism.
According to the yacht clubs and associations related to the sea, the recently rephrased sea rescue tax adds to the other brutal increases like the one affecting the fuel, or the ones affecting other costs, like the electricity or other general taxes like the VAT. The direct result of the increases during the six years of crisis is a continuously falling occupation in the ports, even more markedly during the mid- and low seasons.
And this despite that the mooring prices have dropped considerably. According to the latest annual report by the Spanish Federation of Associations of Tourist Marinas and Ports, between the start of the crisis in 2008, and the year 2012, the prices of mooring cessions fell by 19,6% in Mallorca, while the prices of mooring rentals fell by 26%. Since then, the tendency has continued, confirms the sector: price cuts after price cuts, specially outside the high season, when the moorings have declining occupation levels.
This new type of tax that the government of Rajoy forces the clubs and other nautical installations to collect has provoked a joint, full frontal reaction in the whole sector. There are fears not only on behalf of the local yachting enthusiasts, sick of having to face increased costs in the middle of the crisis, but the sector warns that the new fiscal demands could discourage the foreign tourism: boats from other countries, even if they stay only for one day, will have to pay a minimum of one months taxes, about 200 euros for a boat of 20 m. In other words, these users will pay more in taxes than for the mooring itself. "It will be very damaging", sums up the chairman of the Association of Marine Trade in the Balearic Islands, Margarita Dahlberg, aware of the fact that prices on the islands are generally high already.
Leer artículo completo en Diario de Mallorca