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Thailand Yacht Show 2018 is set to raise the bar


The 3rd edition of the Thailand Yacht Show will take place 22 – 25 February 2018, once again at Ao Po Grand Marina. Organisers are already well ahead of the game, with a series of supporting events being planned, along with major changes to the set-up and format of the Show. Key local industry leaders such as Lee Marine, Boat Lagoon Yachting and Multihull Solutions have already confirmed their full support of what is set to become a marine lifestyle experiential event like no other. Read on for the latest news...

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Thailand Yacht Show 2018 to break boundaries

The Thailand Yacht Show is set to revolutionise yacht shows in Asia. While most shows necessarily employ a static, “viewing only” concept, the 2018 Thailand Yacht Show is to tear up the traditional format and create a 360-degree experiential event that engages with visitors, VIPs, industry stakeholders and media alike in a 4-day festival of on-water lifestyle and sport.

The Thailand Yacht Show will become an all-encompassing on-water festival of marine lifestyle and sport – the original vision for the event, and, with its immediate access into the idyllic waters of Phang Nga Bay, the reason for choosing Ao Po Grand Marina as the ideal venue. Working with partners in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and all around the region, organisers will host exclusive VIP programmes for guests to experience the yachting lifestyle.

There will be exclusive “sea-trial” excursions, sunset cruises, watersports demonstrations and try-outs. In addition, the TYS team are planning four spectacular world championship competition events – P1 powerboat racing, foiling catamaran yacht racing, stand-up paddle boarding and kite-surfing. Spectators for all these events will have amazing “up close and personal” experience from the new viewing platform being created atop the breakwater that surrounds the marina. Then from 3pm to 10pm the exhibition displays will be open to all, and the exhibition pavilion will be replaced by purposely-designed booths on floating platforms next to the yachts and boats, bringing all displays together in a single, on-water venue.

Some of the biggest and best-known local industry names are already on board in full support. One of Asia’s largest yacht sales, new yacht construction and management companies, Lee Marine have confirmed their participation again. “We see TYS becoming the major large yacht show in the region, and we will be fully supporting the event going forward” says Joshua Lee, Managing Director.

Re-confirming their commitment to the Show for the third edition are Boat Lagoon Yachting, representatives of Princess Yachts since 1994 in South East Asia, and several other major brands including Jeanneau Yachts from the Beneteau Group.

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“Without a doubt the Thailand Yacht Show is the only important marine event in Thailand for us now, where we have had successful results, and as such we will be significantly increasing our display space for TYS 2017,” said Vrit Yongsakul, Group Managing Director. “The event's timing and format allows us to organise VIP and customer sea trials in the morning and even during the show itself. This is an excellent and unique way to showcase the marine lifestyle we are promoting, while opening up to the public in the afternoon and evening. It has always been a pleasure working with the organisers who are specialist professionals and the only ones with unique understanding of the local and regional boating industry – which I believe is what we really need.”

Andrew de Bruin, Managing Director of Multihull Solutions Asia, is also enthusiastic: “We are really pleased with the way the Thailand Yacht Show has so quickly become so important – 45 yachts in the first year was unbelievable. Although we primarily sell power and sail catamarans in the 40–80ft range, we are fully aware of the importance of developing the superyacht charter market in Thailand in order to get the PR and the tourism dollars coming in, and grow boating in general,” he commented.

“We think what the TYS team has done to engage the Government so completely and so positively in such a short space of time is wonderful, and we currently have no intention of participating in any events in Thailand now that don’t support this one. We all need to work together to help TYS grow, get the industry going, and repay the government's faith,” de Bruin added.

Ao Po Grand Marina has 24/7 unrestricted access and in addition to getting more people on the water, organisers plan to create a water sports festival with a number of unique activities and additional events each morning throughout the Show. “Ao Po Grand Marina is the perfect venue for an experiential show aimed at attracting newcomers to the boating lifestyle from all over Asia. Our venue partners share our vision, and will create a 300m long viewing platform on top of the marina's breakwater which will provide a unique visitor experience from which to enjoy some new world-class events we have planned,” commented Andy Treadwell, CEO of 3L Events (Thailand) Co. Ltd, organisers of the Thailand Yacht Show.


Thai government full steam ahead on yachting regulation changes

“There are approximately 4,700 superyachts in the world, mostly based in the Mediterranean, of which probably a third or even half travel to cruise in warmer climes in the winter months – and together they spend hundreds of millions of dollars there. Our goal is to put Thailand on their radar, to make South East Asia a viable alternative to the Caribbean for the winter season after summer in the Mediterranean, and bring all that spending power here. Key to the success of this project is being able to charter in Thailand, where we have all the infrastructure necessary to attract them.”

This was the message from Andy Treadwell, CEO of 3L Events (Thailand) Co. Ltd, organisers of the Thailand Yacht Show, to Thai Ministers at a recent meeting.

“The Thai Government fully understands the potential. Their vision is clear – to make Thailand a superyacht hub – but more importantly so is their desire, and this is being backed up by a lot of behind the scenes work by all the various departments involved. It takes time to change rules and regulations, and we in the industry need to understand that.”

At a recent meeting in Bangkok called by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Tourism and Sports, discussions about the 12-month superyacht charter license continued.

Approved in September 2015, the license allows foreign-flagged superyachts to legally charter in Thai waters for a period of 12 months. However, there are still some issues that need to be worked out, most importantly the fact that a foreign-flagged superyacht currently has to be temporarily imported if they want to charter, and 7% of the value of the boat paid as VAT to the Revenue Department.

“This remains a stumbling block to creating an effective superyacht charter license for Thailand – no yacht owner in the world will pay that, since they are already losing a huge amount of money each year just running the yacht - and it was top of our agenda at the ministerial meeting. What is encouraging is the willingness by all departments to work together and find a solution,” commented Treadwell.

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The Revenue Department has now been tasked by the Ministry of Finance to come up with a viable solution within 3 months.

“The aim is to attract more superyachts to the area, allow them to legally charter in Thai waters, and contribute significant revenues to the local economy during their time here. The Thai government has targeted superyachts as they are the at the apex of the industry, generating important revenues and international PR for the country. Within two years of overcoming the current obstacles, I expect to see more than 200 superyachts coming to Thailand each season and the benefits from this will filter down to all sectors of the industry, from marinas to refit and repair, maintenance and onshore support services, creating jobs and attracting inward investment.”

Dubbed the “marine playground of Asia” Thailand is critical to putting Asia on the global superyacht map. The Thai government has taken the initiative and is creating an attractive framework to entice more superyachts to the country. The country's vast coastline makes for spectacular short and extended cruising, and it is these natural attractions, combined with world-class onshore facilities that makes Thailand the hub for superyacht activity in the region.

“Positioning Thailand as the superyacht hub of Asia and attracting more high and ultra-high net worth individuals is just Phase I of the Thai Government's master plan. Thailand is really leading the way here – and other ASEAN countries will follow suit, since together, as a region, ASEAN offers cruising grounds that are unrivalled anywhere else in the world,” noted Treadwell.

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