MORE THAN 120 GUESTS TOOK PART IN THE “LANDSCAPES FOR THE BOATING ECONOMY, THE INDUSTRY’S BEST COURSE” TALK, HELD BY UCINA, THE ITALIAN MARINE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: A PANEL OF EXPERTS FROM ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF ITALIAN INDUSTRIES OFFERED THEIR INSIGHT IN IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPING THE ITALIAN LEISURE BOATING SECTOR IN THE NEAR FUTURE
From Italian and international market prospects to tailored investment plans supported by the European Union for companies operating in the boating industry, from the development of large yachts to that of small boat leasing and the revamping of boat leasing in general. These were the issues tackled during the “Landscapes for the boating economy, the industry’s best course” panel, held by Italy’s association for their marine industry, UCINA, on Wednesday 13th June at Rapallo during the 2018 SATEC Convention.
It was thanks to the speech by Alessandro Plateroti, Vice Editor-in-Chief of the Sole24Ore (Italy’s most important paper for finance and economics), that the guests could benefit from an expert insight into the political and economic landscapes in Italy and Europe. “Today we are witnessing a fragmentation of global order. The political factor is key, long gone are the times when one voice regulated world trade and political relationships. The USA is undergoing a significant change: Trump is showing just how much a country’s relative weight can make a difference, when strength and economic and financial power are tied to social integration a country can dictate the guidelines for the development of others. Europe is, on the other hand, lacking in its unity, so we are very happy to hear proposals from EBI (European Boating Industry, the association which represents the nautical industry across Europe, author’s note) and UCINA to keep the boating sector out of the trade war”.
Regarding this same tariff issue, Piero Formenti, vice president of UCINA and president of EBI, illustrated the actions taken so far with regards to the president Antonio Tajani and all members of the Italian parliament in Strasbourg, finding aide from other European sector Associations supporting UCINA’s initiative.
Andrea Bianchi, Director of the Industrial policies department, outlined the Italian Confindustria’s proposals for industry policies and thus the opportunities for the boating sector. “Our incentive and support system for companies is highly detailed, we must strengthen communication to ensure UCINA members are able to understand and access the tools which are currently available. We need to work towards plan 4.0 for businesses and go back to focusing on supporting investment”.
As for the leisure boating industry in Italy, Carla Demaria, President of UCINA, stated in no uncertain terms that “current trends are positive and the industry’s revival is solid. The context surrounding us is undoubtedly favourable: among our competitors, France, Spain, Greece and Croatia, have introduced penalties which more than ever benefit Italy. When it comes to boat leasing – Demaria continued – Italy has access to the most secure and reliable system. Europe has initiated infraction procedures for a while now in leasing and hiring with regards to Malta, Cyprus and Greece, while Italy was contacted merely for information for the European Commission regarding hiring and the application of tax exemptions. UCINA was called upon by the Ministry for Economy and Finance to provide a series of technical elements to complete Italy’s response to the European Commission. This is yet another concrete demonstration of these institutions’ and of UCINA’s role in supporting the entire industry”.
With regards to boat leasing, Enrico Duranti, President of Assilea, the Italian Association for leasing, confirmed a growing trend in the sector (+58% in 2017) which has been consolidated in 2018: “Over the first 5 months of this year, we have witnessed a +29% growth compared to the same period of the previous year. Examining financial investment reservations, it emerges that 95% of such investments are aimed at benefitting the central and northern areas of Italy, showing a clear division within the country”.
In this same context, which has also recently witnessed the entry into force of a new Nautical Code and the tightening of tax policies in other countries, new opportunities are available for the large yacht industry in Italy. Alex Mazzoni, CEO of SOS Yachting, an independent company with a vast experience dealing with charter-related issues, operating in Viareggio, Rijeka, Palma de Mallorca and Nice, stated: “Italy is currently the Mediterranean’s number one tourist destination and the most secure and reliable place from a regulatory and tax-related standpoint for the charter market which, not without reason, in 2017 overtook the French market”.
Another sector witnessing a strong development and state-of-the-art innovation in new distribution channels and financial solutions research is that of car rentals, which opens new economic landscapes and opportunities, soon to be implemented by the leisure sector as well. “I believe that the long-term hiring model over the next few years could be a more popular model for boating and more adequate for family needs” – added Paolo Ghinolfi, CEO of Sifà – BPER Group, Italy’s new source of tailored plans for personalised mobility. “Here’s a statistic everyone can appreciate: for long-term hiring in 1995, 5000 cars were registered. In 2017 that number was over 350,000. This transformation, which is also a cultural shift, from purchase to use brings with it a series of technological innovations such as digitalisation, use of apps, preventive maintenance and an organisation which is witnessing a trade network increasingly adapted to post-sale assistance”.