Superyacht captains and industry leaders gathered at the Monaco Yacht Show earlier this month for a breakfast briefing jointly hosted by Superyacht Australia and the organisers of the Thailand Yacht Show and Singapore Yacht Show.
Responding to the growing demand to explore new and lesser-known cruising destinations, the audience of captains and charter brokers engaged with a panel of experts for information on the “best of the best” that the Asia Pacific region has to offer. From secluded anchorage spots, exceptional cuisine, sporting activities, refit and repair facilities, logistics, and regulations, the organisers joined forces to showcase the area at this invitation-only event, held at Stars N Bars.
Chaired by Andy Treadwell, Managing Director of Singapore Yacht Events, invited speakers Captain Carl Brandes and Captain Graeme Hampson, of M/Y Glaze and M/Y Titania respectively, provided first-hand perspectives of their favourite mooring spots, anchorages, diving areas and cultural highlights for owners and guests - as well as the preferred yards and agents who they turn to for supplies and maintenance support.
Logistics took centre stage during the briefing, with Andy Treadwell elaborating a set of new strategic initiatives being discussed with governmental authorities to improve the transparency of cruising regulations in the Asia Pacific. He also spoke about the very first meeting of ASEAN tourism ministers being organised in Bangkok for later this year. He advised it was hoped that the Australian Tourism Minister would also attend this meeting designed to facilitate the establishment of a harmonised and simplified set of regulations throughout the region:
“By harmonising superyacht cruising regulations throughout South East Asia and the greater Asia Pacific region we can facilitate navigation of these waters, allowing captains to focus on the owner and guest experience, as they cruise this stunning destination,” Andy explained.
“There is tremendous support from the Thai government to facilitate the yacht charter market in the region and they fully understand the considerable economic impact that the superyacht industry could have for the country - as does the Australian government. Everyone is looking towards supporting growth in this sector,” he concluded.
Owners and charter guests are well versed in charter opportunities available in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, and they are now searching for the new regions to explore. And while the Asia Pacific region is today considered yachting’s third destination, many of the cultural riches, natural landscapes and unique cruising opportunities that this region has to offer, are still relatively unknown. Stronger strategic alliances with governmental authorities, enhanced transparency and consistency in rules and regulations throughout the region, along with the careful guidance of industry leaders, lead many to predict that the region’s status will elevate to the world’s second cruising destination in less than a decade.
Captain Carl Brandes of M/Y Glaze echoed this sentiment following his experience cruising in Australia with his owners: “We spent the last 18 months covering all of the unique and amazing destinations that Australia has to offer, from the Whitsundays to the Kimberlys. From the best New Year’s Eve Party in the world in Sydney Harbour to the Australian Open in Melbourne, I was extremely pleased with the consistently high quality of services and warm welcome we received all over.”
The Whitsundays, Australia
Captain Brandes emphasised: “My owners enjoyed cruising in Australia so much and the fact that it is a year-round cruising destination makes it a very appealing area to explore from a lot of standpoints.”
Captains who have cruised the area are enthusiastically taking up the cause with local authorities to support the industry. Early in 2016, M/Y Glaze hosted a meeting with the Australian Minister of Tourism who welcomed the opportunity to review how his government could support an increase of superyachts to the country by permitting more foreign-flagged vessels to charter in Australia. In a similar fashion, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, and other key governmental ministers met with Captain Graeme Hampson of M/Y Titania for a luncheon at the official opening of the Thailand Yacht Show. The VIP Guests were provided with valuable insight into the challenges a busy charter yacht faces, and discussions further reinforced concrete actions that the government could evaluate to attract more vessels to the area.
Captain Hampson commented on his owner’s experiences cruising in Thai waters for the past two winters: “The yacht’s owners are hooked on the whole area,” he enthused. “Not least because of the huge diversity of activities on offer and the incredible natural beauty of the region, but here guests can enjoy amazing diving, watersports and stunning beaches while soaking up the hustle and bustle of Phuket and also discover some of the island’s award-winning hotels and restaurants.”
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
A unified effort across the entire Asia Pacific, from Thailand to Australia, and New Zealand, is underway to educate the industry about the region and support its growth. In conjunction with strategic government initiatives and the showcasing power of world-class B2C events in the region, such as the Thailand and Singapore Yacht Shows, the Asia Pacific region is gaining prominence as a premier yachting destination.