13 August 2003

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Yachting the future - Cottonera seeks its riches

The regeneration of the Vittoriosa waterfront has entered a new phase in its development with the addition of yachting berths inside the creek. For the consortia overseeing Vittoriosa’s renaissance from Grand Order fortress to luxury playground, the cogs are turning with yet another addition to the project responsible for Labour’s downfall back in 1998.
With the launch of the Lm4 million 247-berth Grand Harbour Marina in Vittoriosa (Birgu), the capacity of Malta's private yacht marinas is to increase to over 1,500. Last year, marinas run by the Malta Maritime Authority marinas catered for 1,024 berths while private marinas catered for 240. The marina will also cater for 33 super-yachts as well as berthing facilities for local amateurs.
Designed by Grand Harbour Marina together with Camper and Nicholsons Marinas, the Cottonera Marina is a Lm4 million project. It will be administered by Camper and Nicholsons through a management contract.
The berths have been provided with water and energy services, telephone and ADSL lines as well as cable connections. However, last week’s inauguration was marred by the series of ongoing works along the Vittoriosa coastline, part of the Cottonera Waterfront project works, and unfinished work gloriously piled in dust and construction rubble.
Dr Francis Zammit Dimech has gone on record saying the government wanted to turn Malta into a yachting centre with all the modern amenities in order to compete with similar places in the Mediterranean. He believes Malta would provide an important base for all Mediterranean yachters.
Marinas have been money-magnets for years within the most developed and less developed nations. Boaters making use of the Birgu marina will provide a major source of foreign income that could do wonders for the local economy with the purchasing power of marina tenants.

The direct effects include increased tax revenues, job creation, added business for restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. Pretty much a floating hotel. There are few aspects of an economy that don’t benefit from the presence of a successful marina.
According to the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, marinas generate an average of 0.3 jobs per berth in the US, meaning that a 200-berth marina could provide 60 jobs and a payroll in excess of EUR892,000 (Source: Marinas, National Marine Manufacturers Association’s boating facilities development portfolio).
Added to these numbers is the regeneration value in terms of real estate prices these bring to small, industrial-based locations such as Vittoriosa, neglected by the ailing manufacturing economy and absence of a service industry
Other international figures attest to the success of marinas: In Ireland, it was found that businesses in the vicinity of a marina might realise up to 13 times as much income as the marina itself.
The 34 marinas in Turkey employ 1,000 people and generate nearly EUR178 million in annual income. It is estimated that five to 10 times that amount is generated in indirect income. And a 1999 economic survey conducted in Australia found that 500 marinas earned nearly $1.7 billion in revenues, and paid nearly EUR446 million in direct wages.
In Belgium, with just 12 marinas and 3,500 boats along the North Sea coast, marinas generate more than EUR6 million annually directly, plus EUR2.67 million indirectly.
Increasingly, marinas are becoming a focal point for housing and office locations with harbour views, which is where the St Angelo Mansions come in. Although St Angelo Mansions’ aesthetic has come under great criticism from certain quarters, it is hoped the development will serve as an impetus for beautifying and cleaning up the Vittoriosa waterfront.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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