Josep Oliver, on behalf of CAEB, reveives this year the award for the entity that most have collaborated with the nautical sector in 2013. Firm defender of the sector during the 20 years that he has been at the helm of the Balearic union, Oliver mentions as one his main achievements the integration of AENIB to CAEB.
1. This year the association awards you the prize for the entity that most have collaborated with the nautical sector during the past year. What does this recognition mean to you?
As a president of the Confederation of the Balearic Trade Associations (CAEB) this recognition is deeply satisfying to me, and during the almost 6 years of journey together since AENIB integrated into CAEB, we have always wanted to support and colaborate to the maximum with an association that for us represents one of the most important sectors in the Balearics.
2.- Put into perspective, you were responsible for introducing the most relevant nautical associations to CAEB. What did you see in our sector to put your bets on us?
In the Balearic Islands the nautical sector gives direct employment to 13.498 people, indirect employment to 8.590 and as a knock on effect (induced employment) to 3.449, which makes a total of over 25.500 jobs. At the same time the nautical tourism attracts approximately 450.000 visitors annually, according to data released by the local government. Thanks to our nautical attractions, photos of royal families, heads of state and celebrities from the world of movies, fashion and business navigating in the Balearics have been publicized all over the world. Behind these images a bigger picture of our first class installations and services is also projected.
In 1993, when I became the president of CAEB, we understood that it was important to integrate the nautical sector as a whole. During this time, the Spanish Superyacht Association (AEGY), the Nautical Trade Association in the Balearic Islands (AENIB), and as the last one The Association of the Diving Centers of Mallorca have joined CAEB. We are very proud that these associations together with other business organizations accompany us on this entrepreneurial journey.
3.- What do think AENIB and the associated companies contribute to CAEB? And what does CAEB contribute to our companies?
If I was to mention some of the milestones during my era in CAEB, the joining of AENIB to our organization would be one of them. The work and energy of Margarita Dahlberg and her defense of associationism are invaluable. She is working actively to capture interesting proposals and interventions in the board meetings of CAEB, doing it always with the sympathy and good mood so characteristic of her. A proof of the efficiency of AENIB is its role in the lobbying to get the European Union to take a stand in the question of the matriculation tax, and to get the Palma Boat Show to adopt a more attractive model and business approach. In a way, the entry of AENIB brought along a breath of fresh air into CAEB which has favored some synergies beneficial to the whole sector.
We as a business confederation in the Balearics have in our turn put our public and institutional weight at AENIB´s disposal, and thanks to our joint lobbying efforts we have been able to influence various legislative processes during these years.
CAEB has also encouraged the participation of AENIB in our work commissions and various conferences, seminars and projects, making it possible to take advantage of a lot of synergies. And lastly, CAEB puts at the disposal of AENIB a physical and human support structure in the whole Archipelago.
4.- How do you think the nautical sector will develop in the coming years?
The sector counts on high quality professional services and environmental attractions, so we hope that the Administrations will allow the sector to grow. The evolution and growth will depend on not being drowned in taxes and fees. The matriculation tax needs to be suppressed on all recreational yachts, the sport of yachting must not be charged with more taxes, and once the economic recovery will start, the central government needs to reduce the VAT at least to the levels valid at the beginning of this legislature. Additionally, we consider it necessary to extend the taxable length and the exemption of the
transfer tax in case of a resale within a year of the transfer.
Similarly, the sector needs a specific recognition at a legal level. The new Draft of Law of the General Maritime Navigation should facilitate the business development and harmonize our legal framework with the rest of the European Union. It is also essential to create a Global Plan for National Nautical Tourism, which in turn will promote a similar plan on a regional level. Naturally the business network should involved in the elaboration of these plans.
As a conclusion, the nautical sector needs to be able to compete in equal conditions in the European market, specially in the Mediterranean region, where many other governments support the nautical industries with favorable fiscal measures and specific legislation, without "closing the doors to the sea".
5.- This is your last mandate at the head of the CAEB. After 20 years of service to the union and having accumulated a profound knowledge and unique perspective to our business realities, which advice would you give the person who will succeed you in the position?
Mainly, he/she should have a unitary concept, in a sense that it is useful to the companies; capacity of exchange and understanding with governments and social actors, flexibility to reach agreements and a vision of the future.