Genova - Despite being a far cry from the situation prior to the economic downturn, business in Italy’s marinas is growing. Revenues were up by 4.5% this year (January-August 2017). “It’s been another relatively good year for our marinas, they have seen some slight improvement in the past three years,” said Assomarinas president Roberto Perocchio. “The figures,”- he added, “however need to take into account the fact that revenues at Italy’s marinas are still 25% below the period prior to the great recession.”
The health of Italy’s marinas was a theme discussed recently during the fourth conference on coastal tourism organized by Ucina, in conjunction with Federturismo, on the sidelines of the Genoa Boat Show, currently in progress. In the season that just ended, a more pronounced increase (+ 7%) in leisure boat traffic was recorded: “However,” explained Perocchio,”in and of itself marina traffic is not the total indicator of the health of a marina, as the facilities cannot survive economically in the absence of customers using regular berthing services. ”The yacht leasing segment, which lately has flourished, has also contributed to the increase in traffic.
There remains, however, an imbalance between the customers for services and the number of berths available; over the last ten years 21,490 berths have been built, while 22,559 are under construction and 51,696 are in the design stage. Conversely just 600 new boat registrations were recorded in 2015: “Italian ports,” added Perocchio, “have made huge efforts to attract more foreign users to take up the slack for a flagging domestic demand. But the clientele of potential customers located in the centre of the EU capable of bringing their boat to the Mediterranean, numbers just a few tens of thousands, and they tend to have medium-sized boats.” The president of Assomarinas then tackled the topic of leasing price rises for public concessions at Italy’s marinas. “If this regulatory mess is not sorted, we will appeal to the European Court of Justice,” he stressed: “We’ve not yet emerged from the nightmare caused by the retroactive fee increases,” explained Perocchio, “so there exist marinas that were built with a business plan endorsed by the State, but which has not been respected, as ultimately they‘ve been slapped with a 300% increase in fees, and there goes all prospects of future profits down the drain. We hope the issue will be resolved during the next national budget plan.”