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Inside Look at the Greek Yachting Association

By Editorial Team   8 August 2014

During the 2014 Mediterranean Yacht Show we asked the founding members of the GYA some of the reasons behind forming the new association and why they decided to add a new show to the Greek yachting calendar.

Back in December last year it was announced to the industry that there would be a new charter show in town, the town of Nafplion in Greece to be precise. The news came with another announcement, that the show would be hosted by a brand new association – the GYA (Greek Yachting Association) – made up of members who represent 90% of the crewed charter yachts in Greece under central agency agreement.

The show ran over the same week as the East Med Yacht Show in Poros, placing itself in direct competition and creating what some could see as a direct contrast to the quality of yachts on display and the future of yachting in the East Mediterranean. We decided to delve a little deeper and get a better idea about the motivation behind the GYA from the people that created it.

Julie Kourouvanis, Seascape Yacht Charters
"The formation of the Greek Yachting Association was for many of us, a hidden vision for many years – a quiet conversation between parties aiming to upgrade the local yachting industry and place the Eastern Mediterranean amongst the top yachting destinations.  For many of us the upgrade of this industry was a duty towards Greece at the times of crisis. Over the past five crucial years our companies focused on maintaining their presence in the international market, maintaining the level of services offered to charter clients and discovering new ways to promote Greece

The already established Poros Yacht Show was failing year by year, legal and governmental matters remained unsolved and unattainable for many years; affecting the operation of our companies as Central Agents, our fleet and of course our partners, the international retail brokers and their clients. I must confess that it was a long way, we faced many difficulties, but the first results of our efforts reflected in a very successful first Mediterranean Yacht Show held in Nafplion. A selection of 6o yachts under CA only and each complying with high standards were presented in front of the beautiful city of Nafplion. This was a well-organized show, presenting the yachts and the crews in an efficient way for all interested parties, envisaging in the creation of a business network of this luxurious industry, in a pleasant environment, full of informative hours and social events. 

In addition to the show, GYA’s committee is working on many other topics and matters of the industry aiming to increase the yachting business in the East Med and also deal with the industry’s topics. Looking back now I realize that a great team was formed, people with vision and love for the yachting industry gave the best of themselves in order to make this happen. Great thanks must be addressed to the Greek owners who trusted us, our crews who gave the best of themselves during the show and of course all of the international brokers who supported our effort and trusted us at the first ever Mediterranean Yacht Show. "

MEDYS 2014 Banner
Superyachts on display at MEDYS 2014 in Nafplion

Spiros Galanakis, Athens Yachts
"The leading companies in Greece gathered amongst ourselves and created a new association called the Greek Yachting Association. We wanted to do something to better the yachting industry in the East Mediterranean so as to protect our friends and colleagues abroad so when they visit our country and the East Mediterranean region – they can see the best yachts available on the market along with the best crews. In the past we were happy to be at another show, but all of the yachts were a little bit mixed up and the brokers were coming in to see the yachts but some of them were independent, some smaller yachts, some ribs and general things that they were not so interested in. In this new Mediterranean Yacht Show held in Nafplion we are only showing luxury Central Agency yachts and I am very happy as we have many people coming over from major companies and also from smaller companies who are also very important and we thank them all for their support."

We decided that we had to take control of the situation and this is how the Mediterranean Yacht Show was created this year and eventually it will become a part of the industry.

Stefanos Macrymichalos, Cape4 Yachting

Stefanos Macrymichalos, Cape4 Yachting
“For many years now I have been saying that we need to develop an association that is specifically designed to service this part of the industry because, up until a few years ago the concept of Central Agency was not something that was very welcomed or understood in this market. But it did become very relevant during the crisis because those companies who were performing duties as a Central Agent for yachts were actually providing a very valuable service and marketing those yachts to keep them employed. So this in a way separated us, being companies that were performing in this way to this business model…So the GYA felt that last year the show in Poros was not successful and definitely did not meet our standards or the standards of the industry. Poros had not invested the money that they should have in order to protect the show – the pier had collapsed and this was not repaired for many months which for us was totally unacceptable. 

We decided that we had to take control of the situation and this is how the Mediterranean Yacht Show was created this year and eventually it will become a part of the industry. Now what we have done is separated the market, we have the yachts that we have exhibited here that are all Central Agency yachts and Central Agents are only looking to get involved with yachts of a certain standard and above. I think we were also able to give our clients, who are the brokers, the international brokers in attendance at the show, what they really needed which was room to comfortably see the yachts and talk to the crews and us, get some more information from us. It is not just about the yachts, it is about the crews, the voyage, the destination itself and the international community needs to experience Greece and the best way to experience Greece is to have a show which is catered to the industry."

Greek Yachting Association Logo

George Pappas, Big Blue Yachting
"The show, for its first year, of course every show is going to have its growing pains, but for the first one I consider it a success! We have approximately 60 yachts here, we have completely relocated and we have a new organisation – GYA – which is comprised solely of Central Agency brokers. The Owners are still involved but in a more normal form, in other words, there involvement stops as the Owner of the yacht and they are not involved in the organisation of the show as they were in Poros. This way, the new brokers union gets to reap the fruits of their labour as far as, regarding the GYA, the future of yachting in Greece is concerned. And why not? We are the ones that book these boats, we invest time and money to promote these yachts so it’s a clean break. Not everybody is happy in the Greek market place, especially the Owners that are organising Poros at present. But what are you going to do? If want to make an omelette, you’re going to have to break some eggs."

Aris Drivas, Aris Drivas Yachting
"As you know I am one of the organisers for the event and the decision to create this event came after many discussions. I feel that this will be THE yacht show in the Mediterranean. The people of the yachting industry are already here, we have over 90 brokers here showing their support of the programme. Greece has many regions and many ports but there are few that can accommodate the 57 yachts that we have here in Nafplion. One of the other reasons for holding the show here is to promote the town as a destination, not only for Greek yachts but also for foreign yachts. It is an interesting and nice place to visit; there are a lot of monuments, beautiful houses, nice people and nice taverns. People don’t know about Nafplion yet."

....57 yachts in a historic location, a multitude of brokers and a social calendar that would be the envy of many....Not bad for a beginning.

Michael Skoulidikis, President of the GYA

Michael Skoulidikis - Atalanta Golden Yachts (President of the GYA)
“GYA was formed by the leading Greek charter companies (with CA's) in order to better promote their products and to establish a "rule of conduct" between professionals in the fields of chartering, sales and management. It is an association with a vision.

GYA is open minded and extrovert by nature. Almost all of its members are MYBA members. Its aim is to influence both external as well as internal factors (government, legislation etc.) in the favor of yachting. As already mentioned, one of the main intentions of GYA was the establishment of a charter show that covers the Eastern Mediterranean and  that would comply with global standards: the best promotion of its products. The result was the inaugural Mediterranean Yacht Show at Nafplion. 57 yachts in a historic location, a multitude of brokers and a social calendar that would be the envy of many. 

An electric string quartet accompanied by Greek wine and delicacies in an archaeological site? A chefs' competition and a plethora of educational seminars? Thematic parties? Familiar faces in undiscovered places? Not bad for a beginning.”

Held under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Shipping and of MYBA, the 2014 Mediterranean Yacht Show was undoubtedly a huge success. It has already been announced that the event will again take place next , the 2015 Mediterranean Yacht Show will take place between the 2nd and 6th May 2015 and according to Michael Skoulidikis ‘it promises to get even better’.  With the event now establishing itself as an important event for the Greek charter market, it is sure to welcome even more superyachts to the line-up in Nafplion and being within driving distance to the centre of Athens is not to be missed.


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