With more and more tourists flocking to the Eastern Med and ports from Croatia to Montenegro and Turkey welcoming more superyachts, local economies and businesses are working hard to meet demand. Owner of NCP, Mr Goran Prgin has always believed in the capabilities of the region to cater to superyachts. "We as a region are able to offer the support and infrastructure that superyachts are used to, but at a cheaper rate than the more established locations on the Med" Prgin commented to me on site. "We're still working to establish Croatia as a superyacht destination and would be thrilled if we were able to get even 10 per cent of the fleet coming through regularly."
And for those that do make the trip, President of the board, Roko Vuletic shared that 90 per cent of their clients are repeat. A pretty impressive number considering the location and relatively young age of the local superyacht industry. However, with Croatia now a part of the EU and the yard established within ICOMIA, the team is optimistic for the future. Prgin shared that "2013 saw our turnover return to pre-crisis levels, with a goal of 30 per cent increase for 2015 through new build, refit and contracts currently under review".
Whilst relatively abandoned until the mid 1990's when Prgin and two previous investors saw the potential in the region, the yard has grown to now employ over 200 (mostly local) full time staff, two large sheds comprising 2000sqm for yachts up to 70m LOA, yacht lift for 900 tonnes and floating dock for yachts up to 1500 tonnes, with plans to grow and expand to meet demand when necessary. Exclusively owned by Prgin, the board would be happy to see another like-minded investor come into the group to continue expansion for the future. As Vuletic shared, "if we were to bring in another investor, we'd like to see someone either in the industry or with a close cross over that could help fulfill the programme we have in mind and reach new growth when the demand hopefully arrives".
With an active fleet of roughly 4000 yachts visiting the Med, and 1000 coming through Croatian ports last year, the team is optimistic for the future and are working hard to establish greater facilities for their owners, but also the captains and crew who will be on site during refit and maintenance. Jana Gacina, sales and marketing director, shared that "before the end of the year, we'll have an NCP Crew Guide available so they know what to expect when planning a refit in the region".
Visiting similar regions recently, it's apparent that the Eastern Med is set to take off in a big way in the coming years. And for the team at NCP, with the support of the EU and now ICOMIA, they're prepared to show the best that the region has to offer.
Look for a full yard report and interview with Mr Prgin and fellow board members in issue 158 of The Superyacht Report.