An article in the August 20 edition of the morning daily Kathimerini caught our eye. The title: “(Greece’s) Blue & White is Dropped from 2,250 Yachts; the Consequences of Greek Authorities’ Tactics are Incalculable.”
The writer, Stathis Kousounis, says that in 1995 some 5250 yachts sailed under the Greek flag, but that by the close of 1999 a mere 3,000 yachts flew the proud blue and white of Greece. He then went on to explain why yacht owners have forsaken the Greek flag.
The major reasons quoted include a completely uncaring attitude towards the sector by Greek authorities, particularly concerning public infrastructure for yachting, a 500% increase in port taxes within the past few years, the lack of available berths at Greek ports, and unacceptable marina infrastructure and services.
Greece, then, which was one of the first countries in the world to become involved in professional yachting, could be on the verge of losing precious income, prestige and jobs. Suffice it to say that all upkeep and repair work on yachts is carried out at Greek ports, especially smaller Greek-island ports, and that modern marinas are at the very least quite profitable.
Authorities should also keep in mind that unless more attention is paid to this sector, not to mention tourism in general, many more Greek-flagged yachts will raise a foreign flag. Turkey, which broke into the yachting sector in the 1980s, now has 4,000 yachts flying that country’s national banner.