In line with the dramatic recent resurgence of the leisure boating industry – boosted, somewhat perversely perhaps, by the two-year pandemic – the organisers of the Thailand Yacht Show are delighted to announce a significant development in their yacht show portfolio. Verventia have just agreed a new partnership with the owners of Ocean Marina in Pattaya to build a significant new extension of Thailand’s very own, six-year-old Yacht Show – a second annual showcase in the beautiful Gulf of Thailand, just down the road from Bangkok, next door to the emerging boating markets in Cambodia and Vietnam, and a short sail from the massive potential of Hainan, Hong Kong and Greater China.
With the enthusiastic support of local and regional dealers of the best-known global yachting brands, as well as Thailand’s government – all very keen to see the leisure boating industry expand on the Eastern seaboard – the Thailand Yacht Show from next year onwards will be staged in both Phuket and Pattaya. The two parts of the show are being carefully planned in consultation with its long-standing exhibitors, and especially with regards to timing; in a normal year, they will likely be held at different ends of the season – at the beginning, in April, in Pattaya, and towards the end, in December, in Phuket.
For next year, however, things are still far from being normal; organisers Verventia are keeping their promise to be cautious, watching the ongoing pandemic-related tourism restrictions carefully, hopeful like everyone of their gradual easing, but listening to and liaising closely with both industry and government stakeholders before making any premature declarations. If all goes as well as is currently hoped, both events are now looking likely to take place in March/April – avoiding the Songkran festivities, of course.
Napong Paripontpochanapisuti, Managing Director of Ocean Property Company, the owners and operators of Ocean Marina, said today:
“There is very strong demand for boating in the Gulf of Thailand now, especially from people living in and around Bangkok, and we can only see this getting stronger. Ocean Marina has for many years been leading the drive to grow boating here, and the idea of a professionally-run boat show going forwards is exactly what we need to take things to the next level.”
He continued: “We are therefore highly delighted to be working with the organisers of the Thailand Yacht Show for a second, very important, part of their well-established and globally-respected international event. We like their plans to bring in new boating consumers from China, Vietnam, Korea and the whole of the north-eastern part of the region via the shores of the Gulf – this is exactly what our clients in the industry on the Eastern Seaboard want to hear. We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with Verventia, and are very excited about how things are developing on this side of Thailand as well as in Phuket, and in the whole region generally.”
The Phuket show will feature many of the luxury superyachts that will be coming in bigger and bigger numbers every year, now that the infamous superyacht charter license has finally been brought into the field of play – thanks to the unflagging efforts of Verventia and the superyacht committee of the TMBA over the past 6 years since the launch of TYS, which was initiated by the government for this very purpose.
Simpson Marine, a founding partner of the Thailand Yacht Show and all Verventia’s three regional shows, is invariably the biggest exhibitor, and next year for the long-awaited 6th edition of TYS will have an extraordinary display of at least 10 yachts, showcasing the latest models from Aquila, Beneteau, Bluegame, Fairline, Lagoon and Sanlorenzo.
Simpson Marine Country Manager for Thailand, Howard Prime, said: “This is the news we’ve been waiting for. We’ve all been through a pretty difficult time over the past couple of years, but I have to say sales are picking up well now – and I believe this is reflected by many of our colleagues in the yachting industry. We’ve all been waiting for the Bangkok market for boating to open up, and now it’s finally starting to happen. The idea of keeping the continuity of one professional yacht show but spread over the two main destinations in Thailand is an excellent one. We applaud the decision of Ocean Marina to keep the faith and bring in the region’s best boat show organisers to help drive the market here as well as in Phuket.”
All the other main brands and dealers have the same enthusiasm for the newly hatched bilateral yearly showcase, and organisers will be announcing their many confirmed lineups over the next few days – along with some other major news about developments with the Phuket show.
At a meeting in Bangkok yesterday evening chaired by the new Minister of Finance, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, and attended by officials from both the Customs and Revenue departments, it was finally confirmed that foreign-flagged visiting superyachts will from now on be welcome to spend the winter seasons in Thai waters and offer their yachts for charter there without having to pay VAT on the value of the vessel.
The meeting marked the culmination of a six-year campaign to bring this all-important change in the local regulations, and thus finally enable a new “third destination” for the global fleet and a new “Superyacht Tourism“ industry to boost Thailand’s pandemic-challenged tourism economy.
The campaign started in earnest in 2015 when the then Minister of Transport was tasked by the Prime Minister with launching Thailand’s own Yacht Show. The show was conceived as a platform to promote the Kingdom as the Marina Hub of Asia and develop an important new yachting industry bringing in significant foreign investment for the benefit of all Thai people.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, then Minister of Tourism and Sport, became a real champion for the cause, and her unflagging belief in this opportunity remains to this day, despite her having left politics two years ago. Minister Arkhom was the incumbent Minister of Transport who in 2016 signed the government decree authorising the so-called “superyacht charter license”, the first three of which were presented to foreign superyacht owners at a ceremony announcing the launch of the new Thailand Yacht Show. It has taken until today to finally agree on the official tax regulations surrounding this initiative, but it could not have come at a better time when Thailand desperately needs a new wave of high quality, high-spending tourists to arrive when we finally see the end of the pandemic – hopefully in time for next season.
The whole of the Thai yachting industry has worked together to finally arrive at this point, and TYBA Chairman Matthew Na Nagara and his team have been instrumental in ensuring that enough information and political persuasion has been given to all government departments and administrative organisations to push the initiative to a conclusion.
The Thailand Yacht Show itself will now become the centrepiece of a much wider Festival of Luxury Tourism, encompassing a showcase of private aviation at the new Phuket Private Jet Terminal, an international classic car Concours d’Elegance; a Wellness & Anti-Ageing Expo; a Collectible Art Show and many other luxury sectors that will attract increasing numbers of UHNW visitors to the beautiful island of Phuket over the next 10 post-covid years.
Whilst the headline news is a huge boost for the superyacht industry, bringing as it will new business for all parts of the ASEAN region right through to Australia and New Zealand, there will also be a massive “trickle-down” effect into every corner of the leisure boating industry and on-water lifestyle industries throughout the whole of Asia.
In light of the recent outbreak of Covid-19 infections in Thailand and the latest announcement of restrictions on inter-provincial travel – as of yesterday, visitors to Phuket from Bangkok and other key regions now have to go into 14 days of quarantine on arrival – we regretfully have to announce the postponement of the 2021 Thailand Yacht Show, currently scheduled from 11th – 14th February, until later in the year.
CEO Andy Treadwell said today, “We have discussed the options with our principal stakeholders, and all agree that we have no choice in the matter. With only six weeks to go to show opening, and travel restrictions seeming likely to become more widely enforced over the next few weeks, it would simply be irresponsible to continue with plans to stage the show over the Chinese New Year period next month, even if it were allowed. Despite the financial hardships this will cause for our suppliers and our exhibitors, as well as for ourselves, we are in full agreement with the government’s safety measures, and we will just have to wait for the situation to ease.
“This is particularly galling for us, coming as it does in the wake of last year’s postponements of the Singapore and Hong Kong Yacht Shows, and after all the efforts we have made to team up with Motor Expo in Bangkok and CP Group’s Siam Land with its brand new private jet terminal in Phuket, as well as other partners who will all help bring potential buyers and charterers to the Show.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand has been one of the most successful countries in managing the protection and recovery of its population. Despite the drastic effect this has had on tourism, one of its most important sources of income – normally around 20% of their GDP, and considerably higher in Phuket – most observers respect and admire the government’s resolute adherence to strict containment measures. Economic recovery will be all the more certain in a tourism destination that can be seen to be permanently on guard to keep itself as safe as possible at all times.
Treadwell continued: “Our efforts to promote Thailand as Asia’s principal yachting hub and the new destination-in-waiting for ultra-high-spending global superyacht tourists, for which the government-initiated Thailand Yacht Show is the main annual marketing platform, will be rewarded in the end. Just last week, we had a meeting with the Thai Customs Department, who are now fully behind the project to allow foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Thai waters.
“Once the remaining tax issues are resolved (soon now we hope!), more and more of them will want to come, stay the whole season, and spend their money here. This will be fantastic, not just for the superyacht agents, charter brokers, marina owners and all the service suppliers down the line, but for the whole of the industry – the “trickle-down” effect to all sectors of the leisure boating and hospitality industries will exponentially increase the positive economic impact. And the biggest beneficiary of all will be the local communities here in Thailand – the people who need it most. So we will continue to work hard to make this happen – as soon as we can make it happen safely.”
New dates for the show will be announced as soon as possible, likely in either June/July, or November.
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