As life begins to return to the new normal and the economy slowly tries to recover, there are a few hangovers from our 8 weeks of new normal that have become a staple of everyday life, and one of those is the Zoom call. And so it is, on a bright sunny morning, that I sit down at my laptop to chat to the charming Antonio Zaforteza, CEO of Ocibar, who for more than 25 years have been the owners of Port Adriano, Botafoc Ibizia, and the recently acquired Port Tarraco, to see just how they have been affected and what the future holds.
We kick off the call with the now-classic opener to any conversation the world over, “how has COVID affected the business”? Antonio tells me that they were very lucky in the marinas and there were zero cases of COVID among the staff and clients, although very sadly, two fathers of staff members were lost to the disease, which brought the reality of the situation into sharp focus. Luckily they didn’t have to ERTE any of the staff as the boats were still in the marinas and therefore there was still a revenue stream. In fact, many of the boats extended and are only just starting to leave to begin their seasons now, as the borders and flights begin to reopen. Where the real worry is is with the offices, shops, restaurants and charter companies. However, Ocibar understands their importance within the overall vision and infrastructure of the marinas and they have tried to help as much as possible with rent reductions and deferrals. This is really refreshing to hear and gives me an even bigger respect for the company and its leader.
As for the next 18 months, well, that’s another question. For now, with the revenue they still have and with government aid, they will continue to survive with a full retinue of staff, and if a normal season can happen in 2021 then they should be back on track. But as with everything there is still a big question mark hanging above everyone’s heads as we simply don’t know what is going to happen, but the only way forward is with positivity and hope and this exudes from Antonio as he talks about the company which is so close to his heart.
Born to a Mallorcan father in Barcelona, Antonio spent many of his formative years on the island in its calas and beaches. In fact, he says with a wistful smile, he actually learned to swim in Adriano. His father bought Port Adriano in 1999 and when he sadly passed away in 2001, Antonio, who had trained as an Industrial Engineer, took over the reins. He talks of the group as a family who stick by each other through thick and thin, with many of the employees, such as Luis the harbourmaster, having been there for several decades. They have seen families grow, children born and this family focus allows them to make decisions faster and have face to face relationships with their clients and customers.
This support for his employees and the local businesses that make up the marinas is also extended out to the arts. If you’ve lived on the island, you can’t have missed the excitement every year around the summer concert season down in Port Adriano. Who could forget Gloria Gaynor in all her resplendent glory, or the suave Tony Hadley charming us as the sun set over Philip Stark’s beautifully redesigned marina? This year however, the dreaded C word has once again taken its toll. Antonio says they thought long and hard about what to do, as the safety of everyone involved is paramount. Finally though they have been able to work out the logistics and have just announced the new programme, which will feature only Spanish artists, as they are unable to fly in the international ones. He says it is important to support the arts at times like these, and whilst it will look a little different, he says it is certain to be brilliant fun as ever.
Talk turns to the ports themselves and what makes them so unique. He says that the ports – which share a common value: excellence – boast characteristic features that make them unique and inimitable and allow OCIBAR to provide a network of marinas that make their clients’ stay an unforgettable experience. They are not just a place to berth a boat or carry out maintenance work, they are a destination in their own right for anyone with a passion for the nautical industry.
In addition to managing Port Adriano and Ibiza Magna, Ocibar is the new concessionaire of Botafoc Ibiza, since August 2019. The port is in the process of being improved to give customers the professional service, that is characteristic of the company, in the marina and commercial areas. It is one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean with a total of 428 berths, boathouse, gas station, and a wide variety of services on the white island.
Port Tarraco, acquired just a month before lockdown, is located in Tarragona, Catalonia, a destination in the heart of the western Mediterranean. Tarragona is a 2,000-year-old World Heritage city. Thanks to an excellent network of land and air connections, the city is only a short distance from Barcelona and very close to Madrid and Valencia. The port is designed and equipped to offer a comfortable, safe, and pleasant stay all year round. They offer 33 berths between 45 and 160 metres and a 24-hour security service with modern facilities, and all the services and safety protocols to guarantee a warm welcome and personalised assistance for all boats and their crews.
What is really interesting about Port Tarraco, Antonio tells me, and something that many people don’t realise, is that there is a non-nautical side to it as well, as there is a huge business park with 4.600m2 of offices, for companies from engineering to tourism, design to catering. This is a side that Ocibar is looking to expand and grow, so now there are two sides: Boats and Business.
I end the call by asking what he thinks the Balearics can do better and he says that obviously one of the issues is that we lack the infrastructure, with things such as lift capacity, versus other Mediterannean destinations, but hopefully there are plans underway to solve those issues. He says that the biggest problem we face is trying to change the local perception of the industry. That we are not the big bad wolves and evil polluters of the sea. In fact, he says the marinas themselves are like giant seabins, where everything that gets swept into them from inland gets picked up and removed. We are not the ones putting the plastic in the ocean, we are the ones taking it out, and that is the responsibility of us as an industry.
It is clear to see the personality of this charismatic CEO is at the very heart of the marinas themselves, with their fun quirky marketing, attention to design and detail, and the complete desire to give all involved a unique and unforgettable experience.
Emergency Tel. 24h. (+34) 678 788 072
By Victoria Pearce
VHF channel 9
+34 678 788 072
Maximum draught 7 m
10,000 m2 technical area, with 250-tonne Travelift and workshops.
Security cameras and 24-hr surveillance
Wastewater extraction service in berth.
Mooring system with 2 lines + 2 or more optional lines
Specific recycling areas and Green Point.
24-hr. crew service
Electricity supply up to 600A
Venue for nautical, sporting, corporate, fashion events, etc.
Captaincy-authorised diver service
Diving and water sports school
Santander Group Bank
Yacht Provisioning El Corte Inglés
Internal shuttle service.