The Business Year

Toni Salom

SPAIN - Tourism

Toni Salom

President, Balearic Marine Cluster

Bio

The Salom family founded Nautipesca Can Miguel, the first chandlery shop in Mallorca, in 1971. Toni Salom joined his father in the business in 1991 and soon began to expand it. He opened the paint division in 1997 and has been developing and innovating with new technologies ever since.

With the boating industry generating the largest GDP on the Balearic Islands after tourism and real estate, the Balearic Marine Cluster is keen to work on long-term growth and the competitiveness of its talent.

What were the reasons behind the establishment of the Balearic Marine Cluster?

Balearic Marine Cluster was established in 2019, as the government of the Balearic Islands defines it as a strategic sector to boost the entire nautical industry of the islands. The government commissioned a market study that confirmed the feasibility of creating a cluster and went ahead with it. The Balearic Marine Cluster was created to give more visibility and promote the island as a destination, from training to innovation and the foundations on which it is formed. We have taken political issues out of the equation, so we are only focused on issues of sectoral development. The Balearic Islands have the potential to improve nautical tourism in terms of charters or large yachts and everything related to it in terms of revenue generation for the island, such as the boat maintenance business. The cluster comprises everything that has to do with the marine industry, including charter companies and broker companies. The three basic ways to strengthen and develop a well-established industry across the islands is to innovate, train the workforce, and sell the product overseas.

How is the Balearic Marine Cluster taking forward the promotion of the island as a yacht destination?

Over the years, we have participated in different events such as Monaco Yacht Show, which is one of the main events in the Mediterranean for the mega yacht industry. Every year, we have a stand called Balearic Yacht Destination, which was founded about seven years ago. We travel and carry out interviews with various chambers and clusters, such as those in the south of France, Monaco, and Germany. With the Chamber of Commerce of Mallorca, we created the first virtual nautical fair in 2020. In 2021, it was again held again online, though in 2022 it will be an in-person event. Many conferences were held with the participation of many relevant people from the sector, not only locally, but also nationally and internationally with 100-150 people at each conference. They have been a success, according to the feedback received. Now, we are continuing to work with a platform that we have been developing for a year, and we will include these conferences as all the training programs developed with SOS IT and the UIB. However, one issue in the nautical sector is that it is difficult to find talent. As a result, a specific training commission has been created.

How would you compare the infrastructure of ports and marinas in Mallorca compared to other islands in the Mediterranean?

The port of Palma de Mallorca was the place where people went to repair their boats. Around 15-20 years ago, a 50-m boat was considered a super yacht. Nowadays, it is considered a medium-sized yacht. In addition, we have facilities to improve in Mallorca due to the existing boat market. One obvious case in point is the refurbishment of Club del Mar, which is focused on large boats. The island needs to revamp its port infrastructure in order to welcome bigger yachts and the benefits that will come with them and their spillover effect on the local economy.

How are you working to enhance synergy with the tourism sector?

The Balearic Marine Cluster has specific collaborations with the tourism administration of the island to carry out specific promotion activities. There is work being done in the fields of tourism and sustainability, as we have a specific agreement in collaboration with the Institute for Business Innovation of the Balearic Islands (IDI) that will help us to carry out tests to analyze waste produced by the nautical industry. Therefore, we are looking to work on the circular economy. One of the goals of the cluster is to promote public-private collaboration. We act as intermediaries for the companies and collaborate with the Spanish Public Administration, where we present the companies projects of interest.

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