The phrase we chose as the title of this year’s Ports Dossier, that “Italians do it better” that Madonna made famous in her concerts, has never been truer. Yes, because there is no nation in the Mediterranean (and the world) that can boast coastlines like ours. It is not only a matter of natural beauty, but of a diverse territory rich in history, for example.
WHAT THE ITALIAN SITUATION IS LIKE TODAY
Remember when finding a berth in Italy was practically impossible and the prices unattainable? We are not talking about prehistory, but just a few years ago. Today the situation has radically changed, including in terms of costs: in fact, prices have not increased in any way from 2008 to the present, in fact in some cases they have even gone down. Southern Italy has grown a lot, both in terms of places and services. If before the southern marinas were “inhabited” mainly in the summer season, today the discourse has changed. More and more boat owners are moving, for example to Sicily, even if they live in northern Italy. This is thanks to the explosion of low-cost airlines. Let’s take an example: a flight from Milan to Trapani, Palermo or Catania can be found starting at about 40 euros. In this way a shipowner can change sailing areas every two to three years.
UNITY IS STRENGTH
Then there is another aspect that is often left in the background, which is the growth of real networks of marinas and marinas, capable together of providing services that a single entity would not be able to give. Such as Marinedi, which currently operates seven active marinas in the Tyrrhenian Sea (and three more will be added in the near future). Or like the recently formed MP Network, which was established in late 2014 and currently has four ports and plans to expand to fifteen ports in the medium term.
THE MARINA RESORT CASE
Unity is strength then, as Assomarinas, the Italian Tourist Ports Association, well knows, which today gathers in its network eighty Italian entities for a total of about 30,000 berths. We met with Roberto Perocchio, who is the president of Assomarinas, to take stock of another of the crucial aspects for the evolution of ports, namely the creation of marina resorts, port facilities that can put VAT at 10 percent for contracts of less than one year. “That of Marina resorts is a process that actually began 20 years ago,” he explains, “when we were wondering why a marina offering hospitality services could not be equated with, say, a resort.”
Let’s read it this way: I can enter into a seasonal mooring contract with the Marina Resort in question: it will be at its discretion which regime to apply (whether at 10 or 22%), just as it is in the industry, for example, of RVs. And remember among other things that the port will have to adapt (just like hotels and campsites) its facilities to reception, and based on those it will be classified. “That’s right“, Perocchio continues, “to become a marina resort, a port must achieve certain requirements in terms of services and reception, which currently vary from region to region, as regional regulations override national regulations in tourism.”. The VAT reduction, launched in 2014 within the “Sblocca Italia” decree, has been extended throughout this 2015, and Assomarinas itself is working to make it a full-fledged law.