Why Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor is the latest superyacht parking lot (4 May 2014)

Marina developments are attracting foreign investment and the elite international yachting community.
Legend has it that in 1624 the inhabitants of the Bay of Kotor slung an iron chain across its narrowest point, the strait of Verige, to defend against raids by Barbary pirates. History and folklore abound in this romantic region of Montenegro: a Unesco-protected, 28km-long inlet of the Adriatic Sea, bounded by dramatic limestone mountains, where the land cracks open to form a huge inkblot of four secondary bays.
Greeks, Illyrians, Romans, Turks, Spanish, French, Austro-Hungarians – all have left their mark, but none has had greater influence on the vernacular architecture than the Republic of Venice. Under the Venetians’ protection from the early 15th century to 1797, merchants and ship owners in the bay grew rich, building mansions and lavish waterfront palaces.
It is this renowned maritime heritage that the Montenegrin government is now seeking to revive, albeit with an emphasis on leisure. Legislation – such as cutting VAT for maritime-related services from 19 per cent to 7 per cent – has been introduced to attract foreign investment and the elite international yachting community to the Bay of Kotor. The old shipyard at Bijela is now under tender with Italian and Dutch companies pledging a minimum investment of €15m to provide yacht repair and refitting services.
The strategy to entice wealthy visitors began soon after the country’s independence in 2006, with the sale of the former naval base at Tivat to an international consortium led by Canadian billionaire Peter Munk.


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