A bright future for the Costa del Sol pleasure boat sector
Published on: 25-08-2015

DEVPuertoCabopinoThe wind looks to be set fair for the future of Andalucía after the years of stormy waters the region has endured.

The economic climate of the region – Marbella and the Costa del Sol in particular – is beginning to show not just signs of real sustained growth. With news breaking of Spain’s unemployment rate falling rapidly – the largest quarterly fall since 2005 – as well as foreign tourist spending in Spain reaching €28.3 billion, it appears to be a promising time.

So far this year Andalucía has attracted 15.6 per cent of the total number of visitors to Spain, bringing an estimated €4.4 billion to the region, a 7.4 per cent rise in comparison with the same period last year. This positive news is benefitting industries across the board, particularly the pleasure boat sector, which is enjoying a strong upturn for the first time in some years.

Berths and marina moorings
While 2014 saw the beginning of this shift, the first six months of 2015 have witnessed a further increase, with 25 per cent more boats registered in the region than in the same period last year, meaning Andalucía now makes up seven per cent of the total market in Spain.

But this means an old problem is starting to resurface – a lack of berths and mooring spaces. During the trough of the financial crisis many owners were forced to take their boats out of ports and store them ashore to avoid mooring fees. This freed up berths, many of which were snapped up by people offering boat rentals to the tourism sector. But now data shows that, in conjunction with the overall economy’s improvement, more people are returning to the ports and marinas instead of storing their boats on land. Unfortunately, now there are not enough berths to go around.

MarinaMarbellaMarbella’s new marina
In 2011, Qatari Sheik Al-Thani produced a scheme to develop Marbella’s fishing port into a luxury marina, with more than 1,200 new moorings for yachts as well as a cruise ship terminal. While this would have contributed greatly to Marbella’s economy, the project has met with technical delays.

While Puerto Banús and Puerto Cabopino in Marbella are fully developed for the moment, progress on new moorings can be seen elsewhere. Benalmádena’s Puerta Marina has an expansion project that is well on the way to final planning approval, although a final date for completion of the exciting scheme has not yet been set.

There are also ambitious plans for an expansion of Fuengirola’s marina, but the paperwork on that project is not so advanced.

In Estepona, there is a scheme to build a dock for pleasure crafts on popular El Cristo beach. Passers-by may have already noticed the numerous boats anchored in the area, but a dock would make the beach more accessible for sailors, thus enhancing the overall experience.

These developments mark a distinct turning point for Málaga and the plans, when they come to fruition, will further boost the economic development of Marbella and the Costa del Sol.