ECONOMY

Greece must provide quality marinas for big, luxury yachts, says expert

Greece lacks quality installations in port facilities for large luxury yachts, notes Pythagoras Kosivas, a member of the National Tourism Council and a specialist on maritime tourism issues. Simultaneously, in 2006 and 2007, new orders of yachts more than 50 meters long have been on the rise internationally. Kosivas suggests that in the next couple of years and despite considerable increases in the price of fuel, orders and deliveries of yachts will continue to rise at impressive rates. This year, he notes, the annual increase in the number of yachts under construction has reached 7.9 percent, numbering 688 boats and totaling 81,852 feet. Orders for ships of more than 50 meters have risen by 15 percent so far in 2006, with 30 percent of those new orders concerning recreational boats of between 70 and 125 meters. Today there are 7,000 yachts over 25 meters long. The above data show an internationally developing trend toward orders for bigger yachts, the owners of which will seek high-quality docking installations. The destinations that can provide the conditions for the development of such installations to moor this category of private boats will also reap the benefits. Additionally, Kosivas states that any new marinas to be created around the world will be linked with the local culture to a great extent. The new marinas have grand concert halls among other amenities, as well as galleries or outdoor exhibition areas for sculpture. They also have high-quality shops, restaurants and even courses for car racing, such as the Forum Marina in Barcelona, which is about to be inaugurated, or the marinas of Monaco. The National Tourism Council member underscores the need for Greece to develop combined installations of this standard if the country wishes to draw quality maritime tourism and have a strong place on the global yachting map in the coming years. Special emphasis must be placed on the development of a network of marinas outside Athens within the context of the new zoning plan for tourism, argues Kosivas.