As Singapore reaps the benefits of their most successful yacht show to date, YachtCharterFleet examine whether the charter industry has the potential to thrive in the current climate.
The unfortunate weather did not dampen the success of the recent Singapore Yacht Show, as the event’s fifth edition welcomed an abundance of serious buyers through its doors. Managing Director of event organiser, Andy Treadwell commented “The presence and enthusiasm of serious buyers and HNWIs was strongly felt at this year’s Show.” The evidence reinforced this, with Simpson Marine announcing record sales during the show, with several buyers signing across the dotted line for sub 24-metre yachts without official ‘superyacht’ status.
The show’s popularity clearly demonstrates the desire across Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand to be a part of the industry, with many yacht brokers taking advantage of this and choosing Asia as the location of their next headquarters, and shipyards like Benetti announcing successful sales from recently opening two Hong Kong-based offices.
Despite the positivity surrounding the yachting following the Singapore Yacht Show, the logistics of organising a Singapore luxury yacht show prove problematic and potentially detrimental to the industry’s growth. Although extra effort is necessary when planning with a charter broker, the city blends spectacular architecture with billion dollar gardens, with a thriving contemporary art and culinary scene found along the way, leading it to becoming increasingly present on many ‘must-visit’ destination guides. As well as the appeal of the Asia Pacific’s unspoiled beauty, cruising here is not as overcrowded as more commonly visited yachting hubs.
Planning a Singapore Yacht Charter
“There is a genuine and growing interest in yachting here, both from new Asian buyers and from Western yacht owners bringing their yachts to the region to cruise,” according to organiser Andy Treadwill, although legislation can provide a barrier to putting plans into action. Without the right to charter in the region, charter yachts are required to travel outside the region to enjoy the benefits of superyachts like 69m/223ft motor yacht SALUZI purposefully designed to appeal to “growing enthusiasm to spend time on the water” locally.
Bart Kimman, Northrop & Johnson’s Managing Director, suggests smaller vessels, such as the 22m/73ft luxury yacht SONAMARA, are key to igniting the yacht market in Singapore, Hong Kong and Phuket. With over a hundred smaller yachts lining up against seven ‘superyachts,’ he commented “The bread and butter business is definitely the smaller end of the market, and the top end is beginning, but it's still a very small number.”
Voices in the industry suggest day charters can ignite Asia’s somewhat tepid interest in yacht chartering. Following successfully organising a clear tax structure for foreign flagged yachts coming in to Australia with PwC, Cameron Bray from Bray Yacht Management commented that “perhaps day charters is the best way to approach it rather that term charters,” so locals can “put their big toe in the water” and “get a taste of superyacht life.”
Benefits for the Industry
An increasing number of Singaporeans interested in the luxury industry getting a taste of the “superyacht life” has it perks – however gradual shifting a hesitant attitude towards yachting will be. The market may be small in comparison to the U.S. and Europe, but building on “a growing enthusiasm to spend time on the water” (Andy Treadwell) can have a huge effect on a country’s revenue in the long-term - as seen in growing yachting hubs such as New Zealand – as yacht charterers eventually become yacht buyers.
With a pro-active attitude to the industry the country can also benefit from tourism, with several Mediterranean yacht charterers and Captains looking to venture somewhere new – countries such as Singapore can be the ones to benefit, alongside Asia’s other yachting destinations, such as Hong Kong.
Looking to the Future
The increased exposure to yachting opportunities within the luxury arena – signalled by the popularity of the 2015 Singapore Yacht Show and presence of noteworthy superyachts such as the 76m/248ft motor yacht ANASTASIA (seen above) - to yachting opportunities within the luxury arena, coupled with Asia’s increasing financial power indicates positivity for the future of the Singaporean yachting industry.
Change is needed, however, to reap the benefits of a growing interest in superyachts by making the gateway to yacht sales, yacht chartering, notably easier to those interested parties in Southeast Asia. With the Thai government currently working towards changes to superyacht charter regulations for 2016, there is positivity surrounding the future of yacht chartering in Asia.
The 2016 Singapore Yacht Show has been announced as taking place from 7 and 10 April at ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, for more information about attending, please contact your preferred charter broker.
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