Recently the Draft Legislation for the promotion of Touristic Marinas and Coastal Area Development, under file No. 21,990, was published in the official newspaper “La Gaceta”. This bill aims to expand the scope of the Law of Concessions and Operations of Marinas and Touristic Berths. Among the changes and novelties included, we highlight the following:
Marina and Touristic Berth Operations
The bill in question demands governmental attention to improve operations of marinas and touristic berths with the objective of reactivating the economy in coastal areas. It seeks to promote clear, agile, and simple procedures, for vessel operators as well as its users, which is why it requires availability and permanence of officers in these locations.
Among the changes proposed by this bill, it requests for the authorization to change captains to be simplified, so that national captains may have access to jobs in foreign vessels. It also looks for efficiency in granting temporary work permits for crews, and a special migratory category designation in favor of foreign employees.
Foreign Vessels and the Temporary Import Regime
The text seeks to allow foreign vessels and their crew to participate in profitable activities related to tourism and recreation, including charter services, during their stay in national territory, with due authorization from government authorities as well as a formal contract with a touristic marina.
Foreign vessels that possess said authorization must pay a Specific Charter Tax, equivalent to 2.5% of the gross income of the services provided, which will be destined to the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) for the strengthening of touristic offers in the country.
These vessels may remain in the country up to 3 months under a temporary import regime, renewable for equal periods up until the year is reached. After this, the vessel must remain outside national waters for at least 90 days to be eligible to apply again under this regime. Vessels under the chartering special regime, may remain in the country for one year, renewable for equal periods.
Within their temporary import, foreign vessels shall be allowed to include goods such as jets skis, fishing rods, surfboards, inflatable boats with outboard motors, among others destined for recreational and sporting activities.
Concession terms and extensions
The draft legislation suggests increasing the maximum term for marina concessions to 50 years, renewable every 20 years; and to 35 years, in the case of touristic berths, renewable every 10 years. The terms of each concession contract will be determined by the compliance of requirements, project complexity, economic viability, among other considerations.
Concessions and facilities as credit guarantees and condominium regime
This initiative intends for marina concessionaries and their subsidiaries to able to access financing options by partially or totally offering the concession as a credit guarantee. Marinas will also be allowed to submit their facilities into a condominium property regime.