According to reports from The Telegraph, Saint-Tropez is experiencing a decline in the number of yachts berthed at its marina this summer, stating “prohibitive costs” rather than lack of funds as the discouraging factor for superyacht owners.
It shared that, instead of Saint-Tropez or Antibes, many are instead choosing less expensive destinations in Italy or Spain, where berthing fees, fuel prices and crewing costs are much lower.
The high costs on the Riviera are partly blamed on France’s enforcement of EU regulations on sales prices of marine diesel, and a new requirement for increased French taxes and contributions to be paid for crewmembers, introduced in March.
In light of the current situation, with concern increasing for local businesses and jobs, three of the Riviera’s prominent politicians – Renaud Muselier, Christian Estrosi and Hubert Falco - have reportedly issued a plea for help from President Emmanuel Macron.
They said in an open letter released to the media, “The gravity of the economic situation of the yachting sector in the Provence-Alps-Riviera region makes it necessary for us to appeal for your direct intervention.”
Revenue at the iconic Saint-Tropez marina has reportedly fallen by 30% and Toulon 40% since the beginning of 2017. As such, the politicians have complained that the EU is allowing Italy and Spain to undercut the Côte D’Azur, called for the “urgent harmonisation of tax and social regulations at the European level”.
They explained that refuelling a 42m yacht in Italy instead of France gives a saving of nearly €21,000 (£18,800) a week because of the difference in tax, while the additional cost of maintaining a seven-person crew in France is €300,00 (£268,000) a year.
Tens of thousands of jobs in France depend on the yachting industry, and President Macron, who has promised to reduce France’s high levels of unemployment, has yet to comment on the Riviera’s woes.