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2018 July August Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


MARKET FOCUS: NORTHERN RUSSIA The extensive Imperatorsky Yacht Club in St Petersburg has modern infrastructure and generous water space. Highs and lows in St Petersburg After several years of uncertainty, marinas in St Petersburg reported recordbreaking occupancy and profitability in 2017. The Russian north-west coast now clearly lacks berths and this may push investors to pump money into new projects. Vladislav Vorotnikov reports St Petersburg is commonly known in Russia as its national sea capital. It is the most popular destination for yachtsmen in European Russia but, over the past few years, the local marinas have faced a tough challenge: the land they occupy appears to be more valuable than their business. “Ten marinas in St Petersburg have been sold off and closed during the past five years,” said Alexander Uralov, spokesman for St Petersburg City Hall. The new owners have built premium cottages and hotels on the land. As a result, the total number of berths in St Petersburg shrunk from 3,222 in 2012 to around 2,700 in 2017, according to Uralov, even though some new marinas have opened in the city during this period. There has, however, been a clear upward trend in the market since 2016. The occupancy of an average marina in St Petersburg reached an unprecedented 90% during the last season, with more local residents starting to buy yachts and more foreigners coming in from Europe. “In the 2017 season the demand was 15 to 20% higher than in the previous year, when we already had occupancy ranging from 86 to 89% for most of the year,” said Oleg Virolainen, chairman of the board of the Vostochnyi Yacht Club. “Because of this, the club invested money last season to expand the marina, adding 36 new berths.” It is believed that the shortage of berths will become even more apparent over the next few years but this may still not make for a perfect environment for investment. Still not Stockholm When it comes to the development of yachting, St Petersburg still lags behind other major cities in northern Europe. While Stockholm attracts on average 24,000 yachts per year and Helsinki an annual figure of 19,000, St Petersburg records just 6,000 according to estimates from the All-Russian Yachting Sport Association. There are infrastructure problems on the Russian north-west coast that hamper the development of yachting, including the lack of marinas on the route from Europe to St Petersburg. “European yachtsmen refrain from visiting St Petersburg because on the sea routes in [the north-west of] Russia there are no berths where one could wait out a storm,” commented Vladimir Silkin, chairman of the Yachting Sport Association. In addition, there is hardly any winter Konstantin Fort is a 160-berth marina with customs clearance. - July/August 2018 19

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