PRIVATIZATION

Marina upgrade projects are setting sail

Marina upgrade projects are setting sail

The major shortage in marina infrastructure for hosting the ever growing fleet of Greek and foreign yachts, which individually are also getting larger and larger, has forced the acceleration of the program for the utilization of the marinas still under state control.

Therefore, within the next few weeks, the state asset utilization fund (TAIPED) is expected to call tenders for the concession of the mega-yacht marina in Corfu Town and the marina at Lefkimmi, in the south of the Ionian island. Ongoing are the tenders for the Kalamaria marina, near Thessaloniki, and for the marinas at Itea and Pylos, in western Greece.

For its part, the Shipping and Island Policy Ministry has set aside significant funds for the improvement of port infrastructure on Greek islands and the continental coastline.

The issue of marina upgrades is crucial for the further development of maritime tourism. The shortage of organized marinas in many destinations around the country and the limited number of berths in existing ones generates problems for those who own or lease yachts. There is an additional need for better infrastructure and organization, especially in very popular island destinations, so as to serve the needs of tourists and yachts arriving in the country over the summer.

According to a recent survey by diaNEOsis, if the necessary port infrastructure was properly developed in Greece, yachting would add value in excess of 1.6 billion euros to the national economy. “There is an opportunity for the Greek economy that is being missed: Although the country’s tourism product is of exceptionally high quality, we seriously lag in infrastructure. Out of the 168 ‘tourism ports’ the state has identified for operation around Greece, only 37 actually operate. The revenues we are missing out on and which are going to neighboring countries such as Croatia, Turkey and Italy are huge,” diaNEOsis commented.

In this country there are an estimated 170,000 yachts, of which 6,109 were professional according to 2019 figures. This is a growing market in Greece, as in the period from 2014 to 2018 the average annual growth rate in the sector amounted to 3.4%, with 80% of demand coming from foreigners. Some 6 million yachts are registered in Europe.