The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

The promotion of the yachting industry

Edward Zammit Lewis Monday, 20 May 2013, 08:24 Last update: about 6 years ago

There is a good deal of talk about “Blue Jobs”. It is important for us to realize, and effectively utilise, the economic potential of our Mediterranean Sea. We have a tremendous resource right on our doorstep and we would be irrational not to use it to our benefit. This new Government is well aware that Malta has a natural potential to become an excellent leading maritime centre in the Mediterranean.  Our geographical position, natural ports and our traditional culture shall serve as a very strong basis on which we can further build and get moving on this ambitious project and objective.

 

One area with excellent potential is the yacht and super yacht sectors. If we make the right moves now it should be possible for Malta to considerably increase its market share in this sector. Many new jobs would be created across different sectors including engineering, technical related and management, just to name a few.   At present, Malta has 300 people working within the super yacht industry, while other 200 jobs are indirectly dependant on this business.  We are determined to grow these numbers.

 

A study commissioned by Transport Malta three years ago put the total annual economic output of this industry at around €31m. Yachting is not only increasingly popular with the Maltese, but we are also attracting a considerable number of international super yachts -considered vessels more than 24 metres in length - and commercial yachts, that is vessels that  come to visit or to winter here.

 

We have secured an encouraging number of registrations of super yachts with the Malta Flag. Our marinas are capable of accommodating the largest super yachts in the world, and we have a history of successful repair and refit projects, particularly through Malta Super Yacht Services prior to its privatisation.

 

There is no doubt that the yachting industry has matured over the years, attracting investment by adopting a professional approach. Malta offers a comprehensive package, including marinas, repair yards, registration, fiscal benefits, legal and corporate services, tax advisors, marine surveyors, service agents, yacht brokers, management companies, maintenance and repair subcontractors, chandlery, supplies and bunkering. Furthermore, Government intends exploring the possibilities of new building improvements to new storage facilities to transhipment of high value cargo such as electronics and paramedics. With such initiatives, we can ensure a better use to existing facilities as well as maintaining clusters to industrial services with high added value in the Maritime sector.

 

The yachting industry also offers various possibilities for the development of the hospitality industry in particular within the grand harbour area.  The reinforcement of Marinas and berthing facilities around the grand harbour will also have to be paired by supporting investment to provide direct or indirect services for this sector such as entertainment and even hospitality facilities.

 

Furthermore, while development of the industry will be driven by the private sector, there is a role for Governmental to support policies and initiatives that will stimulate growth and long-term sustainability. We must ensure that the right infrastructure is in place. In fact, this Government is committed to identifying zones that can be transformed and developed to more modern facilities, related to the industrial services of yachts and super yachts. Moreover, the regenerating project of ‘Port il-Kbir’ and its relevant areas, will set the backdrop for the aforementioned scenario and further investment to take place.   One issue that has restricted growth is the lack of berthing and hard standing capacity, so we need to carefully analyse what needs to be done in this area, attracting also the big names in the industry.

 

Policy and regulation have to be developed wisely. This New Administration, from the very first day in office, expressed its clear vision that it intended to continue improving legislative, while developing other, polices aimed at creating new schemes to attract new players in the financial services, specifically related to the Maritime sector. Fiscal revenue and registration fees were estimated to generate €20M a year.

 

Training in this sector is very important, in fact it is essential that more investment in MCAST takes place in order to offer more courses relates to the Maritime sector as a first step to then potentially proceed to the creation of a Maritime Academy.  On the other hand, international events are a very effective way to showcase what we have and can offer. Many people will be visiting Malta and Gozo for the European Maritime Day and we will take the opportunity to show off our excellent facilities. I trust that we can organise more international events in the future because we should never stop spreading the word that Malta is a beautiful gem in the Mediterranean and offers a climate that is very open to business opportunities.

 

We have a history of welcoming people to our shores. We are not only proud of showing off our islands but we also recognise the economic benefits that follow. The industry may be in its infancy but all the skills are in place. Our challenge now is to build and expand, together with the private sector, in order to promote the niche that surely will contribute towards developing Malta as an excellent leading maritime centre in the Mediterranean

 

This Government and myself in particular, are determined to promote actively the yachting industry.

 

The Hon Dr Edward Zammit Lewis is Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth – The Yachting Industry falls directly within his portfolio

 

 

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