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A single charging policy could allow the Mediterranean sector to grow

The Mediterranean landscape of marina concessions is very diverse and reflects both political and economic dynamics.

The Mediterranean landscape of marina concessions is very diverse and reflects both political and economic dynamics.

“Almost every country has its own model. Unfortunately, this poses many challenges for marinas and the industry as it makes competition unfair,” says MartinhoFrotunato, Chairman of the ICOMIA Marinas Group (IMG). “Generally speaking, state-owned marinas generally have an advantage over private marinas because they do not have to pay a landlord. And if they pay, the fee is much lower than what private concessions pay”.
Fortunato continues that rents should consist of two fees – “a flat fee, which is usually low, and a progressive fee based on the marina’s total turnover. The best examples on the market follow this rule”.

The results are varied and widespread. The practice of rent valuation can cause serious problems. “Marinas are long-term projects and go through phases of growth and recession. Therefore, those based exclusively on fixed fees or high financial responsibilities will not be successful for the concessionaire. If the concessionaire’s responsibilities are not successful and If the liabilities are very high, poor results that affect the marina in times of recession will jeopardize the operation of the marina”.

Concessions can be revoked if the economic recession makes them unprofitable or if the tax burden becomes too heavy. “Both scenarios have a huge impact on the local economy, employment, and tourism,” Fortunato continues. “And it usually takes many years to overcome them, leading to deep-rooted infrastructure problems.

Although unexpected rent increases can be imposed during the term of a concession, in countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Croatia, the state cannot unilaterally change the amount of the annual fee because it is based on a previously agreed investment plan. “The rental fees are set according to the area occupied by the investor and can only be changed according to inflation during the term of the concession.
The Mediterranean market needs first-class well-attended and well-maintained marinas, and constant investment is needed if the marinas are to continue to attract international visitors, serve the core business of 10-20m (33.66ft) boats, welcome superyachts and their respective year-round crews, and continue to lead the world charter market in their sector.

In Italy, tourist ports have been in need of legal clarification for a decade, they were penalized by a crisis in nautical tourism and by a state administration with accounting problems.

Some areas need clarification and there is no uniform policy in the Mediterranean. This is even more pronounced in Italy, where despite the overwhelming importance of the nautical industry, there is a lack of a medium- and long-term policy for recreational boating.

“Politicians should start to consider yachts as masterpieces of private ownership and not just the assets of potential tax evaders,” explains Luciano Serra, President of Assonat, the national association of ports of call and tourist ports. “There has been no concrete dialogue on state concessions. Moreover, the previous government set a deadline of 15 years for the reform of state ownership concessions, and it is unclear whether this applies only to bathing facilities or also to marinas. In certain regions, the rule applies to marinas, in others it does not”.

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