The operational issues that shipbuilders have been facing in 2021 (and continue facing in 2022) have as a major result the unavailability of new boats to purchase, especially for small and medium fleet operators that cannot preorder in bulk with two to three years advance. Consequently, key construction market players have not been exhibiting in the last shows, and most companies have a delivery date from 2023 to 2024.
In addition, most countries have suspended government subsidies, and some regions have been investigating abuses in the usage of these aids. The result is a significant drop of brand new boats in the top destination with Greece facing the most considerable reduction.
The lifting of the special VAT conditions in countries like Italy and Greece contributed to instability and reduced the already small margins.
Italy, Greece, Spain, and Turkey managed to contain the damages and recover some market shares, decreasing the loss to -10% compared to 2019. Honorable mention goes to France that had faced the most significant drop in 2020 (-44%) and reduced it to only -7%. As expected, the winner of this race to the bookings is Croatia, which achieved not only to reestablish the level of 2019 but actually registered a +2%.
Even if some markets in the Mediterranean are catching up unfortunately the situation is still not optimistic with almost 40% loss in general booking capacity across all destinations worldwide compared to 2019, while in 2020, the loss was about 30%.
Some destinations like Thailand were still closed for tourists and others like the British Virgin Islands had extremely severe protocols to enter. Martinique and many Caribbean islands also suffered from the instability of the measures taken by other governments allowing or denying access to their citizens in certain areas.
While the number of closed weeks is still not back to normal, charter length is approaching the standard average of 7 days in most countries. The only exception is Greece, where the average charter in 2020 was over 10 days and maintained an average of 9 days in 2021.