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The Balearic Superyacht Forum organized by Balearic Marine Cluster, will take place on April 24 and 25 at the Auditorium of Palma.

This Wednesday, February 21, Balearic Marine Cluster held the presentation of The Balearic Superyacht Forum at the Chamber of Commerce, the first international forum of the yachting sector that will bring together regional and international experts and a select list of VIP guests to discuss the main aspects that will determine the future of the nautical industry.

The welcome of the event, attended by more than a hundred companies and thirty authorities, was given by Mr. Toni Salom, president of the Balearic Marine Cluster Innovative Business Group, who highlighted the great importance of this event for the Balearic nautical business community.

The dates of the Balearic Superyacht Forum have not been chosen at random; its celebration coincides with the first day of the Palma International Boat Show, which will take place from April 25 to 28 and which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The aim of choosing these days is to expand the schedule of activities of the nautical salon. Ms. Silvia Delgado, Manager of the Institute of Innovation of the Balearic Islands, presented the novelties that this edition holds for participants and visitors alike, emphasizing that this edition will focus on certification in sustainability and measuring the economic impact of the event.

The casuistry of both events promises to turn the city of Palma into the epicenter of the international nautical sector, offering participants the opportunity to enjoy both experiences.

The Balearic Superyacht Forum is born with the aim of reinforcing the competitive position of our islands and their nautical business fabric, presenting the Balearic Islands as the most complete region for the yachting sector in all its fields: naval repair and maintenance, nautical tourism, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

All this is reflected in the dynamic program of the forum, which includes a wide variety of sessions, presentations, and interactive activities focused on aspects such as innovation, sustainability, the evolution of the nautical maintenance and repair industry in Palma, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the Balearic Islands as an international nautical tourism destination.

Up to 300 local and international attendees can participate in this event, of which 100 can opt for a VIP entry at no additional cost for the forum, and their accommodation expenses will be covered by the Balearic Marine Cluster, in order to ensure the attendance of key actors in the development of the industry in this first edition of many to come; this was explained by Mr. Pedro Suasi, Manager of the Balearic nautical cluster.

Suasi also highlighted the sector’s need for reliable data on its true socio-economic impact in the Balearic Islands, a need to which the Nautical Companies Observatory created by the Balearic Marine Cluster responds.

Currently, the Balearic nautical sector has 872 companies exclusively dedicated to recreational boating, generating a direct turnover of €1.045 billion in 2022, representing 3% of the Islands’ GDP. In addition, the sector is responsible for 4,874 jobs.

Concentrating much of the activity in naval repair and maintenance activities (43% of turnover), followed by nautical tourism (39%), service companies for nautical activities (12%), and distribution of nautical materials and components (6%).

To contextualize this data and have a deeper understanding of the sector’s needs, two round tables have been held.

The first table, entitled “The impact of the REFIT industry in the Balearic Islands,” took place with the participation of prominent speakers. Mr. Diego Colón, CEO of Astilleros de Mallorca, highlighted the added value that the nautical business fabric brings to the islands. Mr. Peter Brown, Global Director of the Yachting Group, discussed foreign influence on Mallorcan companies and the possible difficulties in accessing public programs. Ms. Antonella Della Pietra, Managing Partner of BWA Yachting Spain, focused her intervention on the indirect impact of REFIT on our islands. Mr. Nacho Díaz, Technical Manager of Hill Robinson, analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of Palma as a REFIT destination compared to international competitors. Mr. Toni Salom, CEO of Nautipaint Group, emphasized the importance of improving air connectivity between Palma and the South of France, not only for the nautical sector but also for tourism. Ms. Olimpia Corral, Chief Operating Officer of Baltic Yachts, addressed the need for training and education programs to ensure generational turnover in the naval sector and stressed the need for the involvement of public administrations in this regard.

The second and final table of the event, “The impact of nautical tourism in the Balearic Islands,” featured prominent speakers. Mr. Tomeu Bestard, CEO and President of Alcudiamar, highlighted the importance of Marinas and Nautical Clubs in the region, proposing a roadmap to improve the competitiveness of the sector. Ms. Isabel Martínez, Commercial Director of Grupo IPM, focused on the promotion strategy of the Balearic Islands as a whole. Ms. Isabel Teruel, Operations Director of Port Adriano, addressed the perception of saturation of the nautical destination in the Balearic Islands, denying that the Balearic Islands are a saturated destination by explaining a model of optimization of moorings combined with a good strategy for the implementation of buoys. Mr. Guillermo García, Marketing Manager of Evolution Yacht Agents, analyzed the economic impact of yachts in the Balearic Islands, offering figures such as the total number of yachts that visited the islands in 2023, which amounted to 1,050 and €93 million spent only on agency services. Mr. Oscar Siches, Consultant of Marinas and Ports, delved into the competition in nautical tourism, comparing the strategies of other destinations with those of the Balearic Islands. Siches emphasized the importance of not becoming complacent as a leading destination. Finally, Mr. Jaume Vaquer, Manager of Jaume Vermell Nautical and President of AENIB, examined the future of the sector serving vessels under 24 meters in length in the Balearic Islands, emphasizing that it is a segment with a guaranteed future and highlighting its importance in the Balearic economy.

The closing of the event was conducted by Mr. Alejandro Sáenz de San Pedro, Minister of Economy, Employment, and Energy, who referred to our islands as “the Capital of the Mediterranean.” After listening to the various interventions, he recognized the need to know more about the sector and increase involvement from the administration. A challenge that, as he well expressed, the Government is willing to take on. “It’s time to look at the sea, but with our eyes wide open,” expressed the Minister.