Size does matter, though. Little else is currently as important as the length of a yacht in Mallorca´s nautical industry. “The future starts at 24 metres. Anything less belongs to the past,” says Chema Sans. And he should know. For over 16 years Sans has been managing the traditional Mallorcan boat show ‘Saló Náutic’. A task the native Mallorcan could have lost easily just a few years ago: in 2012, at the peak of the crisis in the industry, Sans had to call off the regional event (organised by the Ministry of Agriculture) just weeks prior to the scheduled exhibition. He had not been able to find a sufficient number of exhibitors.
But the crisis seems to be dead and buried. For the first time in its 32-year history, all available places at the Boat Show were booked out one-and-a-half months before the start. With almost 40,000 visitors to the five exhibition days in May 2015, a new record was set. And most of the more than 200 exhibitors were absolutely satisfied – both with public interest as well as with commercial results.
This success didn’t come by chance. It is mainly thanks to the Balearic Yacht Broker Association (BYBA) – a body of about half-a-dozen companies specialized in the sale and charter of million-dollar boats, called ‘superyachts’ from a length of 24 metres and beyond.
“Three years ago we made an agreement with the trade fair management to find a way to take into account the wishes of the yacht industry on Mallorca,” says Arne Ploch, president of BYBA. The Worldwide Yachting Association (MYBA), campaigning the interests of luxury yacht brokers and charterers around the globe for 30 years, also joined. The result was an extra exhibition area for large yachts, the ‘Superyacht Show’, which since then has been the driving force for the entire Boat Show. “Sailing yachts are especially important in Palma. At no other trade fair in Europe are so many sailing superyachts shown,” says Ploch.
32.000 visitors enjoyed the 31st version of the Boat Show in Palma. Great success! […] Curtain Down on a Record-Breaking Palma International Boat Show
“The Boat Show in Palma is something very special,” says Marga Dahlberg, member of the Supervisory Board of the MYBA. “There is hardly any other trade fair in Europe supporting the interests of the international yacht industry as efficiently as Palma.” Jonathan Syrett, manager of the prestigious international yacht brokers Camper & Nicholsons is also enthusiastic: “The location opposite the old town, with its numerous restaurants and shops, is just unbeatable. Unlike the boat shows in Cannes and Monaco, where customers drive up with helicopters and limousines, the exhibition in Palma is not over the top or extravagant. In addition, it is not organized by a private company, but by the public sector. And that is in turn reflected in lower costs for the exhibitors,” says Syrett.
Camper & Nicholsons and abcMallorca co-sponsored a glamorous event on board the superyacht Babylon to celebrate the start of the XI Oris Rally Clásico. See the photos here! […] Camper & Nicholsons on board Babylon
For him, as for Arne Ploch and Marga Dahlberg, the Boat Show is an indicator of the upswing in the Mallorcan yacht industry. “In particular, the demand for luxury yacht charters has increased tremendously on the island. Last summer we only had some 30 charter yachts on offer. This year there are 70,” says Syrett. The reason for this is mainly the recent easing of the regional tax rules for charter yachts over 15 metres in length. A few years ago, foreign luxury yacht owners mainly refused to head for the Balearics. Because in order to offer their boat for charter on the islands – and thus recoup part of the annual costs of maintenance and operation – they had to log it in Spain first and pay a corresponding tax of 12 per cent on the purchase value. “For years local authorities had been putting unnecessary obstacles in the way,” says Syrett.
The nautical industry is the most important source of income on the Balearic Islands – behind tourism. Last year, according to the provincial government, the industry produced benefits of around 350 million euros. “Particularly in the field of refit and maintenance of yachts, Mallorca is one of the leading destinations in Europe,” says Arne Ploch.
“Six of the world’s ten largest yacht broker and charter companies have their headquarters on the island,” Marga Dahlberg highlights Mallorca as an international nautical hotspot. To support the positioning of the Balearic Islands as one of the leading yacht destinations, additional support from the authorities is necessary. “Tax regulations for chartering of luxury yachts must be even more transparent. Many terms are still in the legal grey area. This legal uncertainty keeps many owners away,” says Arne Ploch. Fair director Chema Sans also wants to improve Palma Boat Show and expand it in the upcoming years. “Next year we will make the event even bigger. With the support of the Balearic Port Authority we will dredge the port bay in order to exhibit even bigger-keel yachts. In addition, the fishing quay will be evacuated during the Boat Show,” predicts Sans.
Within “two or three years” the event will become the world’s largest superyacht exhibition. “We have lost years with wrong concepts,” says Sans. “Mallorca has already become one of the premier hotspots for luxury yachts in Europe. We must take this fact finally into account. Anything else would be unrealistic”.
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