It is going to be full steam ahead for the Balearic yacht charter industry next year with the only hurdle being the lack of moorings to meet demand. The results of a report carried out by the Barcelona Boat Show's market research department conclude that next year could be a “positive period” for the Balearics' yacht charter sector and Spain as whole. Spain's charter sector has an extremely good global reputation and industry sources have noted that a number of important French multi-national yacht charter companies are currently moving into the Balearic sector. Last week fresh calls were made for more mooring in Alcudiamar, and rightly so as the outlook points to an increase in demand next summer. Barcelona Boat Show sources said that the yacht charter market is becoming increasingly popular as the ideal relaxing holiday and the chartering of a yacht, with or without a crew, is no longer exclusive to the rich and famous. The market's expansion, fuelled by rising demand over recent years, has mean that charter prices at the lower end of the market have been reduced. The Balearics is the region with the highest number of marinas in Spain. The islands' 62 marinas account for nearly a quarter of the national market, but Cataluña boasts the largest number of moorings, 22'133 in total. Barcelona Boat Show sources said that the average earners can now afford holidays afloat, with the cost of a one week charter ranging from 149'747 pesetas (900 euros) to 1.49 million pesetas (9'000 euros) depending on the yacht and whether of not a crew is also required. Spain's most popular charter destination is the Balearics, in particular Majorca, and the local nautical industry is continuing its battle for more moorings in order to meet the growing demand. While the charter sector is currently quiet, the boat yards are full, carrying out refits and repairs with the Balearic nautical industry operating throughout the year. But while the indications for 2002 appear to be good, one of the biggest problems for the Balearic sector is not being able to expand to meet demand and industry chiefs have warned the local authorities that unless the restrictions on the industry are either eased or removed, the lack of moorings could prove costly in the long run with charter companies and skippers going elsewhere. The study also concluded that Spain and the Balearics are still considered “safe” destinations, a reputation which could prove highly beneficial next year.

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