Why nautical tourism is Italy’s “forgotten” treasure

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Joker Clubman 28
Joker Clubman 28 – Archive photo

They may be bad memories of the past, but when I see a parade of ministers and politicians at conferences, it smells fishy to me.

We perceived this feeling at the Blue Forum “National Sea Day”, in mid-April when they paraded in order of appearance: Nello Musumeci (minister for civil protection and sea policies), Ignazio La Russa (president of the Senate), Daniela Santanchè (minister of tourism), Gennaro Sangiuliano (minister of culture) as well as a slew of undersecretaries, local administrators, and representatives of the European Parliament.

The program that isn’t there

Among the statements of these distinguished gentlemen, we have fished out a few phrases here and there, such as that of Ignazio La Russa who evoked the splendor of the Maritime Republics, Santanchè who extolled the teamwork of the government, Sangiuliano who elaborated on the sea=culture theory. We expected something concrete, given the “parterre de Roi” who had gone to the trouble to reach Gaeta, the venue of the conference.

We may have missed something, but we have not tracked down any concrete words in favor of nautical tourism, which is certainly part of the marine economy and can be in the next decade, if properly supported by a strategic plan, a source of Incremental revenue for the famous Made in Italy that is one of the government’s workhorses.

The situation was well summarized by Innocenzo Cipolletta, a renowned economist, regarding the nationalistic emphasis on the Made in Italy concept: “It honestly seems to me more like a display of nationalistic pride than anything else. Italy is being promoted when for business purposes it would make more sense to focus on individual sectors.”

It seems to us that we are limited to self-celebration, a “museum” operation of Italic ingenuity while there is a need for a “do” operation.

Nautical tourism development agenda in nine points:

Let’s try, by bringing out the simple common sense of those who actually go boating, to dictate an agenda for our politicians if with facts and not statements they can help develop nautical tourism in the next decade in Italy

1) Adaptation of facilities of public marinas and concessions to private parties of floating docks/pontoons.

2) Facilitating the development and adjustment of existing navies by simplifying and homogenizing bureaucratic procedures.

3) Creation of nautical tourism free zones in the 32 marine protected areas with a fee so as to self-finance the activity and facilities to be created.

4) Uniform along all and coast the regulations (such as distance from the coast to anchor… ). Today each area has its own particular regulations.

5) Creation of new buoy camps in protected bays, again with a policy of self-financing through payment for parking and services.

6) Overseas promotion of nautical tourism on the sea in Italy in major tourism-oriented nations.

7) Facilitated financing for those opening nautical tourism businesses.

8) Direct intervention of the Ministry of the Sea on pending files for new marinas and/or interventions on existing marinas.

9) VAT relief for recreational boating accommodations, equalizing them with that applied to tourism/hotels.

How much is a National Nautical Tourism Development Plan worth to Italy?

From our estimates with a national plan of reforms and Nautical Tourism is estimated to grow by 70 percent in revenue in ten years, from 6 to 10.2 billion euros, with an annual growth of 5 percent reaching a total of 28.4 million more presences/day than in 2023. Maybe it’s worth putting your nose into it, dear politicians. For the future of Italy and for the sake of boaters. Which is us, sea enthusiasts.

Luca Oriani

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