The “tragic situation” of charter in Tuscany and 7 solutions to get out of it

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Elba panorama

Tuscany is a region in which the nautical charter sector and all the induced activities associated with it have developed a great deal in recent years. To date there are about 20 boat rental companies (bare boat – unmanned boat) in Tuscany with a total of about 150 employees, providing a total fleet of more than 200 sailboats and catamarans from 10 to 15 meters.

We reproduce the letter signed by the charter companies of Tuscany which you will find at the end of the letter.

How much is yacht chartering in Tuscany worth?

This young and dynamic sector generates an inflow of just under 200,000 admissions for an 8-month working season (March/October) and an estimated turnover of 10 million euros. The induced revenue is equally important, the boat vacation generates additional revenue for services ashore of the same value bringing the total to 20 million euros distributed among groceries, moorings in marinas and municipal ports, restaurants and bars, and various purchases. Many clients combine the classic week-long beach vacation with a week on land to visit the art cities and natural wonders of the Tuscan territory.

The tragic situation

Now with the epidemiological emergency, the situation is nothing short of tragic, work has practically gone to zero, the drop in bookings is about 50 percent which added to an additional 30 percent of contracts shifted to the next season generates a drop of about 80 percent. The unknown of border openings also remains; about 70 percent of the regular clientele are from abroad. We estimate that we will be able to have a good August with Italian customers, but with 3 or 4 weeks of work we are far from being able to reach the minimum necessary to ensure our survival.

Unfortunately, costs for moorings and maintenance, have not varied as a result without help, many companies will be forced to close.

As of today, we are in the situation of still not knowing when we will be able to start business resulting in embarrassment with clients who have current reservations. We do not know what rules we will have to follow or even when we can start, in fact our Ateco codes are still inactive. We imagine that the government considers us in the same way as charter boats ( crewed boat), but that is not the case ( our business not having a crew on board is much safer) and that is why we have not yet been considered

We are therefore calling for urgent action that can enable us to get out of this situation:

1)Recognition of Nautical Chartering as a “receptive-tourist” activity.

It is now certain that the preferential VAT taxation to which we have been subjected for many years (22% VAT on 50% of the taxable amount) will be eliminated so we will be, at this very tragic moment facing an increase in prices to the public of 11% this would put us permanently out of the market by facilitating other countries such as Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Spain and France that have prices (and costs) definitely more competitive than ours Currently our activities are included in Ateco code 77.21.02 which contains the word “DIPORTO” which implies and restricts the use of the unit to recreational purposes only.

We ask of our activity to be considered as “tourist accommodation” which is what we really do and to be consequently assimilated into the VAT taxation of the sector.

This would also allow us to tap into the possible benefits provided for an industry to which we belong in all respects, tourism.

N.B. We now learn from our colleagues that the Region of Sardinia has included ATECO code 77.21.01 among those that will benefit from now and in the future from actions to support tourism.

2)State fees

The concessionaires of the marinas have made demands for immediate aid through the cancellation of state concession fees, as we are recently told has already happened in Sicily) this should, on the part of those managing the moorings also fall in a compulsory form on the professional operators through appropriate and substantial reductions in previously agreed prices.

3) Moorings

We ask that mooring fees for professional operators be treated as normal leases (as they are for all intents and purposes for us) and therefore subject to a 60 percent tax credit for the years 2020 and 2021, the minimum period necessary for the recovery of the industry.

4) Grants and Funding

Restarting will require that resources and contributions be set aside to enable us to restructure and re-present ourselves in the international market. It would be important to be able to rely on even grant funding as is already provided in other regions.

5) Boat purchase tax credit

Given the current situation and especially the outlook for the coming years, we believe it is of fundamental importance that the same facilities recognized in the South and the Islands, access to the 45 percent tax credit on investments destined for the purchase of boats, are also available in Tuscany. Should this not be recognized we will face different treatment and consequently unfair competition, a situation we are already suffering.

6) Suspension of non-regular competitive activity

(a)Occasional Hire.

We ask that casual chartering, which involves the requirement that the shipowner (or person designated by him) be present on board, resulting in great difficulty in containing the virus, be suspended pending rules that are more specific and appropriate to prevent completely black leases and rentals. In addition, private individuals are absolutely unable to organize themselves like professional operators and cannot be subject to any control especially in the management of sanitation, safety, dock spacing so they could very easily cause very serious damage to our entire industry.

(b) Sports associations (ASD)

For many years, numerous phantom sports associations have been proliferating in the market, which under the guise of spreading the art of seamanship and sailing charter as regular agencies, and others that even have fleets under management by individual private owners. This phenomenon has grown exponentially, and today it is no longer tolerable that there are realities that hide behind fake associations for the sole purpose of not paying taxes, contributions and VAT; how much they harm us is easy to see.

7) Security and sanitation

We would like to point out that our sector operates with a mostly family clientele and that once the boats are sanitized the boating vacation is totally Covid Free, if we were to experience a reduction in embarked users our sector would not be able to cope at all. We point out that in the rental business (as opposed to chartering) the possibility of embarking crew is precluded, and this, as far as safety protocols are concerned, greatly facilitates us.

Some companies have already arranged (and others are in the process of arranging) to carry out embarkation and disembarkation operations ( check in and check out) through apps and computer systems, this allows them to no longer need to have an operator on board, and in this way, physical contact with customers is totally zeroed out.

N.B. also on this issue we now learn that the Region of Sardinia has cleared the concept that rental boats as means for private use therefore not assimilated to public transportation, consequently they are excluded from the restrictions required for social distancing. In the hope that you can understand our dire situation, we trust in your willingness and remain available to arrange an online meeting at short notice in order to better detail to you our needs which are of an absolute urgency:

Dario Zana – 43rd Parallel Scarlino : tel. 329 2124530 – e mail: dario@parallelo43.it

Scarlino 07/05/2020

Nautical Tourism Operators Committee Tuscany – The charter companies of Tuscany

– 43rd Parallel – Scarlino – Dario Zana
– Ala Charter – Punta Ala – Paolo Pannini
– Alfa Sail – Punta Ala – Alessandro Degl’Innocenti
– Herring Sail – Scarlino – Federico Fabbrovich
– Avio Sail – Portoferraio – Stefano Chiappi
– Buechi Yachting – Carolin Buechi – Portoferraio
– Against the Wind – Punta Ala – Pasquale Bevilacqua
– Dufi sail Charter – San Vincenzo – Andrea Calamai
– Medboat Sharing – Scarlino – Francesco Romiti
– NSS – Cala De Medici – Simone Morelli
– Palm Yachting – St. Vincent – Birger Palm
– Planet Sea Charter – Andrea Calestrini – Salivoli
– Rigel Vela – St. Vincent – Gianni Berti
– Sail Charter – Punta Ala – Alfredo Marinoni
– Sailing – Scarlino – Paolo di Trapani
– Sailor Tex – Cala de Medici – Matteo Italo Ratti
– Salivoli Vela – Salivoli – Roberto Bertocci
– Sea Walker – Punta Ala – Marzio Morelli
– Segelzentrum Elba Germany – Portoferraio – Gereon Verweyen
– Sun Charter – Portoferraio – Marcella Rosendhal
– Toscanacharter – Cecina – Maurizio Villani

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