The Balearic Marine Cluster presents a report with the main figures of the sector at the opening of the first Balearic Superyacht Forum. The nautical sector encompasses 879 companies generating €1.106 billion in revenue and creating 5,145 jobs, with an annual growth rate of 4.26 percent. This is according to the report presented by the Balearic Marine Cluster during the first Superyacht Forum held on the 25th and 26th April 2024 with the attendance of 300 professionals at the Palma Auditorium.

Balearic Nautical Sector

The First Exhaustive Sector Overview

This is the first time that a complete and exhaustive overview of the sector has been unveiled, highlighting the consolidation of the Balearic Islands as a hub of nautical activity in the Mediterranean. Toni Salom, President of the Balearic Marine Cluster, stated in his opening speech,

“The nautical industry in the Balearic Islands, representing 3.1 percent of the Balearic Islands’ GDP, is not only an integral part of our local economy but also a symbol of our identity and culture.”

Salom added:

“This leadership position confers upon us great responsibility and even greater opportunity, as we aim to become the most sustainable, intelligent, high-quality, and service-oriented yachting hub in the Mediterranean,”

The current state of the nautical industry, focusing on crucial issues such as environmental sustainability, new technologies in construction, maintenance, and yacht operations, as well as the necessary collaboration between the private sector and local authorities to ensure environmentally friendly growth, were the focal points of discussion at the Balearic Superyacht Forum.

Alejandro Sáenz de San Pedro, Counselor for Business, Employment, and Energy of the Balearic Government, noted in his opening remarks that this first superyacht forum, coinciding with the Palma International Boat Show, “positions the Balearic Islands as a hub of nautical activity in the Mediterranean.”

Jaime Martínez, Mayor of Palma, highlighted the sector’s strength with 210 vessels registered in the Balearic Islands during the first quarter of the year and emphasized the dynamism of nautical companies due to their diversity, professionalism, and quality of services offered. Clara del Moral, Insular Director of Tourism for the Council of Mallorca, stated that events like the Balearic Superyacht Forum represent a committed effort to innovation and sustainability, contributing to harmony between residents and tourists.

Data Speaks For Itself

Based on 2022 data, this study by the Balearic Marine Cluster reveals that:

  • industrial activities (repair and maintenance, shipyards, and dry docks) account for over 30 percent of companies (282), over 40 percent of revenue (€459.38 million), and employ 2,475 workers.
  • Recreational nautical services represent nearly 40 percent of companies (337) but less than a quarter of revenue (€261.61 million) and sector jobs (1,234).
  • The average size of companies is relatively small, with 40 percent generating less than €300,000 in revenue, and 60 percent having fewer than five employees.

However, it is also noteworthy that:

  • over 40 percent of revenue and 30 percent of total employment are concentrated in just over 20 companies, indicating significant polarization between larger and smaller enterprises.
  • Another notable finding in this report by the Balearic Marine Cluster is that the average salary in the nautical sector (€32,000 per year) is significantly higher than in other industries such as tourism, food, and furniture.
  • Additionally, the refurbishment, maintenance, and new construction segment is the most highly compensated activity, with wages 10 percent higher than the sector average.
  • In terms of distribution, 76 percent of nautical companies are located in Mallorca (45 percent in Palma), particularly in the maintenance and refurbishment segment, while Ibiza holds a strong position in nautical tourism and recreational boating.

The First Debate

The first panel discussion, moderated by Martin Redmayne (Chairman of the Superyacht Group), was composed of the CEO of Astilleros de Mallorca, Diego Colón; Toni Forteza, CEO of Ocibar; Mar Vera, Head of Expansion and Sustainability at Alcudiamar; Belén Martín, Partner at Evolution Yacht Agents, and Legalley+’s lawyer, Miguel Angel Serra.

They all highlighted the strengths of the nautical industry, supported by the data presented earlier in the morning, and emphasized the international recognition of the Balearic Islands for their boat repair and maintenance services, their undeniable appeal as a nautical tourist destination, and their robust nautical business ecosystem, distinguished by high quality, efficiency, safety, and flexibility in naval repair and maintenance services. However, the speakers also noted a lack of space both in ports and shipyards, emphasizing the need for investments in infrastructure to cater to specific segments, such as the maintenance of vessels over 70 meters, given the growth experienced in this superyacht market.

Improving infrastructure, enhancing productivity efficiency, and fostering innovation are the three main future challenges of the nautical sector, as concluded by Diego Colón, CEO of Astilleros de Mallorca. Toni Forteza, CEO of Ocibar, pointed out the enormous growth potential of this industry during the summer season, while Mar Vera, Expansion Manager at Alcudiamar, considered the needs of professionals coming to work on the Islands.

Not losing sight of safety and reaching a consensus on navigation traffic regulation were the improvement aspects pointed out by Belén Martín, Managing Partner of Evolution Yacht Agents. Lawyer Miguel Angel Serra highlighted the importance of improving the fiscal framework in Spain compared to other competing countries such as France or Italy. Pedro Suasi, Manager of the Balearic Marine Cluster, advocated for motivating the new generations to continue the sustainable growth of the sector and improve its social positioning.

The Second Debate

The second panel of this forum included the President of the Spanish Golf Course Association, Luis Nigorra; the Operations Director of Evolution Yacht Agents, Xisco Notario; the Director of Engel & Volkers Mallorca, Hans Lenz; Michelin-starred chef Marc Fosh, the CEO of the Auditorium, Marcos Ferragut, and Superyacht captain Carsten Franik, under the guidance of Martin Redmayne.

The panelists shared their experiences in the Balearic Islands, expressing their passion for the archipelago’s nature, culture, and society, highlighting its geographical positioning, tourist infrastructure, healthcare services, and security forces. The lack of housing for both locals and nautical professionals, the need to extend the tourist season with direct connections to Nordic countries and France during the winter, the focus on industries that add value such as nautical, and improving public perception of tourism were some of the aspects addressed during the debate.

The audience has been very active and participated in the discussions by asking numerous questions. The Balearic Superyacht Forum continued in the afternoon with a conference on the challenges of artificial intelligence in nautical affairs, presented by María Jesús Casado of Omniaccess, and Fabrizio Ottini of Yachtmind. The first day of this forum will conclude with an interactive workshop to address the challenges of the nautical industry.

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