Current tax laws in Thailand – and other nearby destinations such as Indonesia and Australia – mean foreign-flagged yachts can’t charter in the country's waters without paying tax on the full value of the yacht. This is, of course, preventing superyacht owners from opening their yacht for charter in the region.
But, as part of an update on the ongoing initiatives with local governments across South East Asia to develop yachting and boating business, Treadwell has revealed the Thai government has already signalled their readiness to make major changes to these regulations.
He said: “There’s a real possibility that this will happen soon, stimulating change in the whole region.” This also signals the belief that changes in Thailand will have a positive impact across the whole of Asia’s superyacht industry, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.
Continuing on the subject, Treadwell said: “The government’s enthusiastic and proactive approach to the superyacht charter licence project reflects the general cultural appetite in these parts to join in, and play big – there’s a real ‘Me Too’ attitude, and a healthy desire to compete and enjoy success.”
Treadwell identified Thailand as the best place to start on developing the region’s yachting industry as with the country’s “geographical position, exceptional natural assets and relatively extensive yachting infrastructure", it's in a prime position to "benefit from the massive potential economic impact of a fleet of foreign superyachts wintering in their waters”.
The CEO has spent the past two years working with various government departments, trying to get the rules revised. As part of this initiative the Thailand Yacht Show was launched last year in partnership with the government to provide a marketing platform for Thailand as a yachting hub.
Drawing comparisons with the Caribbean, Treadwell said: “Charter is an imperative part of their programme because it helps defray the very high cost of running the yacht. Plenty of owners and captains would like to try Asia as an alternative but they won’t come here to spend their millions of dollars if they are going to be penalised with massive taxes if they charter.
The Thai government’s enthusiastic and proactive approach to the superyacht charter licence project reflects the general cultural appetite in these parts to join in, and play big
“The government recognises this and has indicated recently that a revision of the rules may shortly be possible. We just need to finally prove the economic argument and, with the support of the Thailand Marine Business Association, demonstrate the new charter licence system will work.”
Regulation changes will also provide opportunity for large boat builders and refit specialists to get involved. Verventia are working on ideas to get major shipyards to open up more to the white boat industry and, thus, lessen the concern for owners to bring their boats to Asia.
Treadmill paints a picture of an “amazing destination” with open doors and joined up regulations, which stretches from Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand in the north, down through Malaysia and Singapore, then across the 17,000-plus islands of Indonesia and all the way to Australia and New Zealand in the south.
YachtCharterFleet, as well as the industry as a whole, will be keeping a close eye on how the future of Asia’s superyacht industry takes shape and will be sure to keep readers updated on any news and developments.
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