As the season gets ever closer, refit work all over the Med intensifies by the week, and non-more so than in STP Shipyard here in Palma. Taking a look around yesterday, the scale and amount of work going on to some of the most beautiful yachts on the planet never ceases to amaze and impress me. Many of the yachts are covered in their plastic tents and scaffolding, but there is no doubt that there are a huge amount of highly skilled craftsmen behind the plastic, working flat out to get these yachts ready for the start of the season !
This refit work accounts for some 3000 direct jobs in Palma, making it one of the largest employment sectors, especially over the winter months when tourism is at a low. These workers all live in Mallorca renting or buying property, spending money in shops, markets, bars, restaurants and other services, creating much needed revenue to the Balearic economy. I hope the new government, when it finally gets sorted out, appreciates the contribution which the industry makes and doesn’t try and tax it to death. Let’s wait and see. We may have more idea after the AGM of the ANEN (Spanish nautical industry association) this week, when several new politicians will be present.
Our friends in the Caribbean will be at the height of their season at present, and it’s worrying to see that it is the area suffering from more attacks on yachts and sailors than anywhere else in the world. For the yachting industry, in particular the charter businesses, to thrive, the authorities need to stamp this out and quickly before the damage is irreparable.
As regards the upcoming charter season in the Med, the picture looks very encouraging for 2016. Bookings are way up on past years at this stage of the year and we have seen a huge increase in the issuing of charter licences over the past 2 years, a pattern which is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
In this issue of The Islander, we have started a new series of articles “ Captains of Industry”, where we highlight leaders of businesses who have been around for a long time and have survived the various recessions over the years to become highly successful companies. The first of these articles looks at Roger Horner of e3 Systems, who have recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. We hope to include these articles every two months, and we welcome any suggestions you may have who you think fulfils the criteria.
Fair Winds !