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Irish Marine Federation Welcomes ICOMIA's New Policy Paper on Marina Taxation

2nd February 2022
Irish Marine Federation Chairman Paal Janson
Irish Marine Federation Chairman Paal Janson

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has welcomed the call by an international marina grouping to have marinas recognised as nautical tourism destinations and to be recognised officially alongside other tourist accommodation descriptions. as set out in the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003.

"This would allow marinas to extend the same advantages of a low tax rate that the Government has allowed for other providers in the tourism sector", IMF Chairman Paal Janson says.

"The marina infrastructure is a vital part of the coastal community economic and social fabric and should be afforded the same support and encouragement that other tourism accommodation providers enjoy", Janson told Afloat.

ICOMIA Marinas Group (IMG), recently published a new policy paper on marina taxation, putting the spotlight on the number of taxes marinas pay and the disparity of the tax value when compared to other tourism outlets. It received input from ICOMIA’s partner, European Boating Industry (EBI), which is actively advocating on VAT and its application for the boating and nautical tourism sector at the EU level.

"Marinas are unquestionably essential for nautical tourism"

Unquestionably essential for nautical tourism and tourism in general, marinas should be treated in the same way as hotels and other hospitality accommodations. Based on a survey carried out by ICOMIA members it is known that 40% of the countries have a reduced VAT tax for hotels and/or campsites that is not applicable to marinas. Of all the countries where there is a different VAT rate for hotels and marinas, the difference between those two vary significantly and they range between 10% to 18%. This significant difference makes nautical tourism less attractive and is known to be a big barrier to the growth of the industry.

Marinas, such as Ireland's largest at Dun Laoghaire Harbour pictured above, are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure argues ICOMIAMarinas, such as Ireland's largest at Dun Laoghaire Harbour pictured above, are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure argues ICOMIA Photo: Afloat

Martinho Fortunato, IMG Chair said: “Marinas have proven to be a great booster to local economies and tourism. Marinas are not just resorts, they are clusters of companies, an attraction by themselves, a centre of activities and a hospitality infrastructure. They increase nautical tourism and nautical sports. Knowing all this, why aren’t marinas considered like that in terms of tax? Why don’t we have a bigger harmonization between activities and countries? These are the main reasons why the ICOMIA Marinas Group carried a survey among its members and developed the Policy Paper about marina taxation, a very important document for the future of our industry.”

Philip Easthill, EBI Secretary-General added: “EBI is advocating for a level playing field in the tourism sector at EU level which must include VAT rates to be adapted for the entire nautical tourism sector. This can further increase competitiveness and incentivise economic growth and jobs. We are delighted that our partner ICOMIA will also promote this globally in other regions through the policy paper on marina taxation.”

Neglecting the positive impacts of a lower and levelled VAT system applied to marinas signals for a poor understanding of the real social and economic impacts of nautical tourism in local communities, especially in countries with a big boating market potential.

ICOMIA recommends implementing policies that consider marinas as tourism organisations and as hotel-like infrastructures and therefore apply the same VAT charges. Looking ahead and for the long-term success of recreational boating and nautical tourism and its direct and indirect benefits, administrations are encouraged to work on harmonised tax policies for marinas.

Published in IMF, Irish Marinas
Afloat.ie Team

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