MaltaToday previous editions

MALTATODAY 10 July 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 47

As Government we are committed to continue supporting the yachting industry by eliminating uncertainty, ensuring a level playing field and creating the right environment for this industry to flourish more maltatoday | SUNDAY • 10 JULY 2022 OPINION The jurisdiction of choice OVER the past weeks, I made it my utmost priority to meet as many stakeholders as possible to understand the intricacies of important industries for Malta's economy: one of them being the yachting industry. It took me no time to realise that a lot has been done and nowadays Malta has been well placed as a world leader in this industry and this in a relatively short time. This was only possi- ble thanks to the hard work and commitment of the authorities and stakeholders who have put Malta on the yachting world map. But going forward Malta's vi- sion is to further develop the Island as a leading yachting hub in the Mediterranean. During a two-day symposium organised by the Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Maritime Law As- sociation: the Malta Superyacht Symposium, I told stakeholders that during the last 5 years, the Malta flag registered a record increase of over 51% in the reg- istration of super yachts over 24 metres – thus making the Malta flag, the jurisdiction of choice and one of the leaders in this sec- tor with over 1,030 super yachts registered. This is a record growth never registered before and that gives us more strength to continue working harder. Malta's ship register has grown not only in numbers but also in reputation, and today, the coun- try is increasingly adding high- class yachts to its fleet. This is also a result of the good quality of service backed by various in- itiatives and strategies in favour of the industry offering a holistic package, which is recognised by owners and industry stakehold- ers worldwide. Being the largest maritime flag in Europe gives us a lot of confi- dence and drive to replicate that success in the superyacht sector. But particularly, we want to fur- ther develop the yachting clus- ter where Malta can attract and support the growth of a number of businesses. At the heart of this cluster, we want to further devel- op a jurisdiction that enjoys the confidence of the operators and is respected by the industry. Malta's geographical position has always given the island a special strategic importance -- be it for trade, war, or pleasure. Today the Mediterranean region is a popular global tourist desti- nation and provides some of the world's most fascinating yacht- ing experiences. With the most appealing setting and a compre- hensive range of facilities, Malta offers a vast range of services: yards, marinas, surveying and multi-service agencies. This all creates the right environment for the island to become a re- sourceful service centre for every aspect of the superyachts service industry. This should be our col- lective objective in the years to come. A politically stable environ- ment, a positive relationship with other EU Member States, a clear commitment to support the business development of high added value services, an attractive fiscal regime, a well respected flag, and an efficient administration create the right environment for this industry to further consolidate and prosper. Malta has done well in build- ing fiscal, legal, corporate and registration services. While it is imperative that we continue to develop these, it is also time to shift our focus to other offerings which are even more "value-add- ed" and strategically important. It is time to consolidate and explore other opportunities in these areas. This industry took off on the basis of location, low cost, du- ty-free fuel and fiscal incentives, but has to continue evolving. We must be a stronger alternative, based on capabilities, improved infrastructure, competence, level of service, reputation and strong relationships. We simply cannot risk becom- ing comfortable and run the risk of letting our laws, our regula- tion and our businesses become out of date. The creativity of oth- ers is real and exists. The benefit of an increased market share and of being one of the largest flag administra- tions in the world offers Malta visibility and confidence to ven- ture into new territory. Hence, our next challenge is to support the growth of maritime clusters, providing technical services and ensuring that Malta becomes the obvious choice for superyacht owners and managers for their wintering, maintenance and re- pairs. We must also increase our promotion of Malta as a pickup and end destination for charters, and close the gaps in crew train- ing and qualification services. Malta shall also continue to represent the industry and its issues at international level. We have had numerous opportuni- ties, at different fora, to make representations to our Mediter- ranean neighboring countries, to the Commission, to the Council, and at IMO and we shall seize similar opportunities in the fu- ture. As Government we are com- mitted to continue supporting the yachting industry by elim- inating uncertainty, ensuring a level playing field and creating the right environment for this industry to flourish more. Our 'can-do' approach is what makes Malta unique. Simple, transparent legislation and pro- cedures and access to key de- cision-makers make Malta the embodiment of 'small is beauti- ful'. The best testimony to this is the experience of the major players who have been in Malta for years. I am not saying that there is no room for improve- ment or that the authorities do not sometimes fall short of the client's expectations. But there is a genuine, open approach to guide and assist owners, manag- ers and captains in the process of regulating them. Our role as regulator and pro- moter of the yachting industry is to steer the economy and not to row it. We are at a particular juncture in economic transfor- mation. I feel confident to say today that we have the right investment climate to position Malta as a key base from which to manage maritime and yacht- ing services and assets. I am aware that we need to continue to invest, especially in the ed- ucation of professionals in the sector. These sectors are based on people and the key to pros- per in them is in people. But we have surely come a long way and today we are here to take our ef- forts to the next stage. Malta has achieved a lot and is very well positioned to make a higher leap and reinforce itself as one of the main players in this important industry. I am confi- dent that with a healthy dialogue with all stakeholders this will be achieved. The yachting industry pre- sents a real opportunity but also a number of challenges. Chal- lenges, which present them- selves both on a micro-level for business operators and entre- preneurs in the sector but also for the Government. The Gov- ernment is committed to over- come these challenges and to continue supporting initiatives from the private sector that are in line with a reinforced industry which is stronger, more selective and targets a higher level of "val- ue-added" and return opportu- nities. It is our responsibility, as Gov- ernment, to support industry in- itiatives that translate our vision into tangible action. We must take Malta from its position within the industry to an even better one. So while we have our eyes on the future, we already have our feet on the ground, making the future a reality. This can only be achieved with the continued support and coopera- tion of all stakeholders. The Government's challenge now is to consolidate and expand further, together with the private sector, in order to promote this sector that surely will contrib- ute towards developing Malta into a leading yachting hub. As a government we are commit- ted to continue supporting the yachting industry by eliminating red tape, continually promoting our position and the services we will be offering. We will create an ecosystem that rivals the best, above all we will see to it that we have a trained workforce. And to complement all this, there is the work that is currently underway and that will pave the path for the regeneration of the Grand Harbour, as well as land recla- mation that offers areas of excel- lence for this economic niche for our country. Just as Malta has become a global leader in ship registration, and as a transhipment hub, so too Malta's vision is to develop the island as a leading yachting hub in the Mediterranean. This industry took off on a strong ba- sis but now must continue evolv- ing on another level. We must be a stronger alternative and above all, agile and flexible. We can- not find comfort in yesterday's practices, laws and regulations, which is why we will now be working on a new national pol- icy for the yachting industry in Malta. This Government is deter- mined and remains committed to actively promote and support the yachting industry. We ap- peal for vision and the courage to change and invest -- that has always served this country best. Aaron Farrugia Aaron Farrugia is minister for transport, infrastructure and capital projects

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MALTATODAY 10 July 2022