European Congress of Nautical Tourism

Hosted by the Monte Real Club Nautico de Bayona
Baiona, 27-29 October 2017

In attendance on behalf of OCC:
Daria Blackwell, Rear Commodore
Alex Blackwell, Regional Rear Commodore, Ireland

Representatives from 24 yacht clubs and cruising associations from Britain, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Spain took part in a 2½ day conference on cruising in Galicia, Spain. Several specialist media representatives also participated. Representatives from ten marina and service organisations were in attendance as were members of the regional tourism and harbour development authorities.

Conference Objectives

Introductions from the tourism board and port captain of Galicia
  • The primary objective was to introduce these associations to the remarkable development of infrastructure in Galicia during the last ten years to support marine tourism.
  • The secondary objective to get input as to what cruisers from different countries look for in an attractive cruising ground and what Galicia can improve.
  • The tertiary objective was to develop effective positioning for Galicia as a desired cruising destination
Discussing port facilities and tourism destinations
The first day was a long session from 0930 to 1930 with a two-hour break for lunch. Representatives from various tourism and harbour authorities presented their case for Galicia as a cruising destination and outlined plans for further development.

On the second day, we were taken on a tour of the Ria Arousa via “minicruizero” on a cruising catamaran. We visited the Isla de Salvora and Villanova with a tour guide.

Oscar Calero,
Manager of the MRCYB
and MC for the event


  • Galicia has gone from 2 moorings/berths in 1996 to more than 15,000 today
  • 9000 berths are run by the Galician state, the rest in private hands
  • In 2011-2012, 16,000 boats were transiting the Galician coast and 4000 stopped in marinas/ports. In 2017, the numbers are estimated to have doubled.
  • The 2012-2020 Strategic Plan includes measures to boost the number transiting, stopping and returning to Galician shores
  • The Irish Cruising Club Rally with 60 participating boats and 300 people was held as an example of a highly successful cruising event, exceeding all expectations on the part of visitors and hosts
  • By educating us, the hosts were hoping we would carry the message to our members and endorse Galicia as a destination rather than just a stopover en route to other places such as the Med and Caribbean.
A full report on the findings of the conference is to be issued by the management of MRCYB.

Touring Isla Salvora

On the island of Salvora near the deserted village
Deserted village on Salvora
The minicruzeiro
Lunch aboard the catamaran

Visiting Villanova

Aboard the tourist choo-choo in Villanova

Unexpected Benefit

Attendees all had the opportunity to meet and discuss cruising with Galician dignitaries and befriend the leaders of other member clubs. It was the first time any of us could think of when representatives of so many European cruising organisations were brought together and could explore the factors affecting all our clubs: aging membership, decline of boat ownership, need to attract younger members, effect of climate change on cruising patterns, etc. Some interesting ideas were generated.

The final reception

Check out the report published by the MRCNB on their website


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