Signs are emerging that superyachts are ditching their previously popular destinations on the French Riviera. Statistics show that yacht owners are abandoning prestigious destinations on the Côte d'Azur such as Saint Tropez, the billionaire's haven, due to high marina fees, fuel prices and crew costs, in favor of cheaper destinations along Italy's Mediterranean coast. and Spain. It became known that Saint Tropez marina revenue fell by 30% since the beginning of the year, while Toulon lost 40% of its revenue.
Will high prices affect the future of the Cote d'Azur
The situation is such that in order to protect local businesses and jobs, the President of the Riviera region Renaud Muselier, the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, and the Mayor of Toulon, Hubert Falco, signed a joint letter to President Emmanuel Macron:
"The severity of the economic situation in the yachting sector in the Provence-Alpes-Riviera region makes us seek your direct intervention.", - said in an open letter to the media.
Concerned that Italy and Spain were allowed to lower prices in the region, they called for "Urgent harmonization of taxes and social regulations at the European level", noting that refueling a 42m yacht in Italy saves almost € 21,000 compared to France. While the additional cost of maintaining a crew of seven in France is 300,000 euros per year. It was further said that very few French crews were employed at all, and sales of the four largest yacht fuel suppliers fell 50% this summer.
The high costs are at least partly due to strict adherence to EU rules on the cost of selling diesel fuel and increased control over social insurance contributions by the French tax authorities paid to crew members. Crew members to whom this decree applies will now be eligible for medical care and retirement benefits. To receive full benefits, the age must be 55 years, and the service life must be at least 25 years.
Decree No. 2017-307, presented in March, sets obligations for both yacht owners and crews. All crews, regardless of citizenship, residing in France will have to pay contributions to the French Social Security Fund for Seafarers (ENIM), which could lead yacht owners to liability for contributions to the system ENIM, which is equivalent to approximately 40 percent of the salary of the crew. And that's not all. Late payment penalty contributions is 0.5% of the established contribution amount for each day of delay. Failure to pay the dues can become a criminal offense and ultimately lead to the arrest of the yacht.
The letter to the French president also includes demands from charter brokers that call for a common European approach to taxation amid growing intolerance among yacht owners. Meanwhile, it looks like some owners are taking matters into their own hands, heading to alternative and less expensive marinas.
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