Greek yacht charters sail into trouble.
Yacht charter in the Greek Islands may hold the key to boosting incomes and giving the Greek holiday industry a much-needed shot in the arm. Industry experts are to gather in Athens for the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum aimed at discussing the growth potential for yacht, cruise and ferry shipping in the Greek Islands.
Yacht sailing and charter is expected to top the agenda in a region popular for Greek island hopping. But yacht charter chiefs warn of stiff competition from neighbours.
In the Greek Islands demand for yacht sailing has been declining for years. Industry analysts blame a bureaucratic government, fewer visitors and rising competition from nearby destinations.
Experts have no doubt that yachting activity can be a major boost to local economies, creating new jobs across a wide range of sectors. In Spain, for example, a lively marina can generates nine jobs for every marina worker in sectors such as catering, sports and education.
A study by the Spanish Federation of Tourist Harbors in 2010 revealed that yachting tourists who spends €100 in a marina also spends an average €450 in the surrounding area - almost twice the average of a normal tourist.
But building new marinas is not enough to attract more business. Visitors also look for good services nearby. Some want local laws streamlined to help marinas develop more and better services and a cut in taxes to attract more boats.
The industry has also introduced an international benchmark to help improve standards, and quality. Turkey has already 10 marinas that have picked up the Gold Anchor Award. New marinas in Montenegro, Croatia and Turkey are already a threat to Greek Island holidays.