In this article the Managing Director of Morley Yachts, Tim Morley updates us on the current situation for yachts in Tunisia, as well as the development of Marina Bizerte.
By Tim Morley
We acknowledge that there have been some issues with security in Tunisia since the start of the recent revolution and changing political landscape. This has clearly raised some concerns amongst people who had been looking at investing in Tunisia’s marina developments, or even just coming to visit with their yacht at some point in the future.
We are pleased to report that momentum continues towards ‘a significant role for the Yachting Industry in Tunisia’s future’, and furthermore we can surmise: ‘an important role for Tunisia in the global Yachting Industry over the next ten years’. This includes the construction of the impressive new marina in Bizerte, which is back on track following the recent disturbances.
The new government will be fully aware of the potential of the Yachting Industry for employment and economic growth. Morley Yachts is assisting with the development of the ‘Association pour la Promotion du secteur de Yachting en Tunisie’, which has already developed various missions to improve the success of the Yachting Industry in the ‘New Tunisia’. This includes a programme of dialogue with the new high-level Ministers to heighten awareness and encourage them to nurture the possibilities for growth in the sector, seeking positive changes that will make Tunisia even more attractive to yachts and yacht related businesses. This new association has the support of a lot of leading industry professionals, who share a common enthusiasm for the future of this industry in Tunisia.
William Hague’s visit to Tunisia this week shows promise. He pledged the UK’s support for the democratic aspirations of the people of Tunisia and their desire for greater economic development and a more open political system: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tunisia/8313274/William-Hague-Tunisia-opportunity-should-be-seized-not-feared.html
The much loved town of Bizerte, on the north coast of Tunisia, is strategically located just 110 nautical miles south of Sardinia, and 120 nautical miles west of Sicily. The new marina in Bizerte will mean that finally Tunisia can join the cruising circuit for yachts. It’s unspoiled local coastline certainly warrants a visit. The charming people and the quality of life, which is both inexpensive and relaxed, make spending time in Tunisia so popular for hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors and expatriates. Yacht owners and crew will also enjoy low-cost fuel (note that high quality fuel compliant with EU rules IS available). People have said: “Tunisia is like Turkey once was, in terms of the cost of living, but much closer to home. The restaurants serve European style food, with fresh fish being top of the list of staple dishes and even Tunisian wine is very good.”
Bizerte is already home to some highly professional shipyard service providers, and refit of yachts will be another significant draw to the area. We are finding that many yacht owners come and take a look at Bizerte to consider a refit, and decide they like Tunisia so much they want to make it a home for their yacht and they even end up buying waterside property.
There will be a delay of about two months on the completion of the berths and apartments, caused by the recent disruption that made working conditions difficult for staff involved in the construction of Bizerte’s new marina. The international management team includes Tunisian, French, Italian and Belgian construction professionals. The number of people involved in the Bizerte construction project is now over 250.
The developers of Marina Bizerte say that they will still be able to accommodate yachts by the end of this year, as planned.