Gianfranco Puopolo, partner at PG Legal, described 2013 as an annus horribilis for the Italian superyacht industry. In that year, 40,000 yachts left Italy for the more favourable locations of Croatia, France, Monaco and Montenegro and 11,000 jobs were lost as a result, losing approximately 400 million euros in tax and VAT.
With Enrico Letta continuing Mario Monti's unfavourable and unpopular legislative offerings with the implementation of ownership tax, Italian shipyards lost orders from owners wishing to avoid further tax demands. Puopolo explained, "orders, especially for medium sized yachts, fell dramatically." The annus horribilis also saw thousands of inspections, both in port and ashore - again causing the yachts to leave Italian waters.
PG legal experienced a record year for bankruptcy and Puopolo urged the audience to still "carry out due dilligence on yards" before working with them.
However, 2014 has been a year of change. The tide has turned, with a number of developments in the pipeline with 2014 on course to deliver a turnover of 3 billion euros - a 5.5% increase on 2013. Unione Confidustria Natica (UCINA) have lobbied successfully and the current government now understand that tourism, and yachting in particular, deserves their attention. Puopolo confidently stated, "finally my life, and your lives, will be easier!"
Developments of note, among others include:
- The bollino blu (blue sticker) - has become a reality. Duplicate inspections will stop as a result.
- Procedures for vessels carrying up to 36 passengers have been simplified.
- VAT on marina resorts has been reduced.