It has been announced that Thailand plans to open its maritime borders for foreign luxury charter business in a bid to boost tourism in the country.
New rules have been announced allowing non-Thai flagged superyachts to obtain licences and entry to Thai waters for charter purposes, according to Director General of Thailand’s Marine Department, Chula Sukmanop.
Foreign yachts measuring a minimum of 30 metres may be chartered in the country, slightly longer than the average of 24 meters considered the industry standard for ‘superyacht’ status. Local news sources indicate that this decision was made to protect the popular market for renting Thai-flagged yachts of up to 30 metres.
New regulations allow for luxury yachts and their crew to stay for up to one year in Thailand, from previously being limited to 30 days for only Thai-flagged vessels. Approximately 50 superyachts visit Phuket each year, but until now, could not be chartered in the country.
Speaking on the change, Sukmanop commented “We will allow foreign superyachts to stay in the country as they can attract high-spending foreign visitors resulting in an increase in revenue for the tourism industry.”
To boost the local tourism, yacht owners and operators would have to pay “water rental fees” for charter yachts that could range from 1mn baht to more than 3mn baht a week (approximately $30,000 to $90,000) depending on the size of the yacht. A deposit between 500,000 baht and 2mn baht ($15,000 to $60,000), dependant on the vessel’s size, will also be necessary. In turn, the charter industry will be exempt from the 7% value added tax in Thailand.
It is hoped this change will dramatically increase the number of charter bookings in Thailand, as Southeast Asia seeks to establish itself as a globally established superyacht hub following a successful Singapore Yacht Show.
Thailand’s Marine Department is investigating how to triple the number of marinas in the country – currently totally 11 (in Phuket, Krabi, Trat, Chonburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces) – with space for 22 in the Gulf of Thailand and 11 in the Andaman Sea.
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Foreign yachts measuring a minimum of 30 metres may be chartered in the country
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