Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia wants more yacht marinas in Malta as part of the country's strategy to attract more superyachts.

Unveiling a vision document for the industry on Tuesday, Farrugia said: "We know what infrastructure the country needs in the maritime industry: more marinas, professional marinas and professional services".

Plans to build a yacht marina in Marsascala were met with strong opposition by residents in 2021. Prime Minister Robert Abela stopped the plans ahead of the last general election.

And in October, Birgu residents protested after a series of no swimming signs in the Sally Port sparked fears of a marina expansion.

"Infrastructural upgrades" and zoning plans for yachting areas are part of the first pillar in "a strategic vision for the superyacht industry", the document that the transport ministry published on Tuesday. 

A plan to "explore the potential of Marsa being regenerated into a superyacht hub" and to "explore the potential of public-private partnerships in new infrastructural and marina projects including breakwater in Tigne to protect the whole of Marsamxett Harbour" were among the actions listed in the strategy document

Farrugia said that Malta's yacht industry has grown exponentially in recent years.

 Over the last 16 years, the number of superyachts exceeding 24 meters registered under the Maltese flag has surged from just over 100 in 2007 to over 1,100 in August 2023, Farrugia said.

He said this growth stimulates the economy and generates high-quality jobs and ancillary services.

A detailed economic impact assessment and hosting annual superyacht events are also part of the "product development" pillar in the document.

Updating the legal and regulatory framework, attracting more workers and improving skills, and ensuring the superyacht industry is environmentally sustainable are the other three points of the plan.

Farrugia said that Malta's yachting vision has support from the Nationalist Party and thanked PN maritime spokesperson Ivan Castillo for attending the document's unveiling. 

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