Just when you thought the Asia appetite for boat shows might be sated, here comes another one. However, it’s not just another boat show – it is specifically aimed at the luxury superyacht charter market, and in Asia most of this operates out of Phuket. Charter shows are usually and strictly B2B only, with brokers and agents having cosy chats about the state of the market and fixing their rates for the coming season. The Phuket Yacht Show will be open source, all welcome. Take a look.
The event is all set to launch at Thailand’s Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, 12-15 February 2015. Created by the organisers of the Singapore Yacht Show, the inaugural show will combine the best aspects of yacht charter, boating industry and luxury lifestyle events. Destined to attract industry and consumers alike, the event will be staged in the biggest superyacht marina in the Asia Pacific region, currently being completely redeveloped by its owners.
PYS dates were decided after organisers had interrogated an extensive database of charter brokers from the industry (including in Asia, Europe and the US) for their opinion as to the best time of year for them and for the yachts. February was by far the most popular choice. The general consensus was that PYS should avoid conflicting with other important charter shows in Antigua (December) and Genoa (May), as well as finding a slot when there would be a reasonable chance of attracting HNW visitors to the show.
To this end, a number of factors were taken into consideration.
• Are there yachts that will still be cruising in the region at that time?
• Will there be a high chance of crossover with preparation for charter or owner cruises?
• Do the dates clash with key charter weeks?
• Are there key international yachting events at this time?
• Are there any international holidays in Europe, the US or Asia on these dates?
• Will the climate be favourable to a visitor’s experience?
• Are there any possible synergies with other local events?
Having covered all those bases, PYS decided that 12-15 February was the answer.
Don’t forget, the Phuket Yacht Show will predominantly be a charter show with a B2B focus. Not so many 40’ cruising catamarans, very few 17’ speedboats (unless they are tenders) and more of the 250’-with-butler variety of boats. Event Director Andy Treadwell said, 'We see the event as an opportunity to attract charter brokers from around the world and introduce them to the region’s enormous potential for cruising. The location of the Show in the newly redeveloped Yacht Haven Marina will offer facilities for much larger vessels than have been able to display at previous industry events in the area; superyachts in excess of 100m will be able to come into the marina. This is likely to be a significant draw, particularly to charter brokers needing to travel long-haul to get to the Show.'
Treadwell continues, saying 'We feel that providing international brokers with a platform to gain first hand experience and understanding of the region’s cruising grounds will be key to growth in the market. On a regional level, there are hurdles to overcome from a regulatory perspective. But by building support in the broker community to encourage yachts and clients to come to the region, collectively we hope to be able to work with regulators to overcome the existing challenges and simplify things.'
This is undoubtedly 'A Good Thing'. Asia’s potential as a cruising destination – and all the business that brings with it – has only just begun to be recognised. Many of the organisational and administrative problems associated with cruising in Asia stem from the simple fact that there are lots of different countries involved, and therefore a multiplicity of regulations. Nobody enjoys the paperwork. You can cruise from one end of the Mediterranean to another, moving from one EU country to the next – Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus – which makes the admin a lot simpler. The islands of the Caribbean have been looking after charters and cruisers for so long that the regulation stuff is pretty much a given. But Asia? Even Hong Kong, generally considered to a well-organised and well-run sort of place, is not an easy port of call for visiting superyachts. PYS’s desire to 'work with regulators to overcome the existing challenges and simplify things' is to be loudly welcomed.
Unlike other charter shows, there will also be a strong B2C element to the Phuket Yacht Show. Event organisers are actively seeking out and inviting potential charter clients from across Asia to introduce them to the attractions of spending time on the water. There are plenty of people in Asia who have the financial means to charter a yacht, but have had little exposure to the lifestyle so far. It is widely acknowledged that charter is a feeder for the yachting industry as a whole. Regular charterers tend to go on to buy their own yachts; so by creating this introductory platform to the yachting lifestyle PYS would be promoting the charter business of today, and the industry as a whole for tomorrow. There will also be an opportunity for brokerage vessels to display at the Show, for those visitors who wish to focus directly on ownership rather than charter.
Phuket Yacht Haven recognised the need for expansion some time ago, ad development is under way with additional berthing, extra on-shore facilities and (we hear) a new access road. The Yacht Haven has been packed to the doors for some time, with Ao Po Marina benefiting from some spill-over business. ‘Not enough marina space’ is a common cry around Asia. If you want to get into the leisure marine business, build marinas rather than boats!
Phuket Yacht Show have been assured that Yacht haven will be ready to host a show at which between 20 and 30 boats are expected to be on display – twice as big as Singapore was when it launched – and at least as many exhibiting companies.
Phuket is unquestionably the destination hub for large yachts in Asia. Nowhere else is there such a large population (some 60 yachts visiting or based there this year) – nor the capacity to berth them - and it therefore has enormous potential for a showcase of this kind, to promote the potential for charter and cruising in South East Asia. The Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand have been gaining popularity among owners and yacht captains as some of their favourite cruising grounds in the world.
As well as being a homeport to a number of luxury yachts and boats, Phuket is also a regular stopping point for dozens of international superyachts each year. The imminent reopening of the redeveloped Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, which will have the largest capacity for berthing superyachts in the region, provides the perfect backdrop for a show to introduce experienced brokers and charterers to Asia, and the uninitiated to the joys of the yachting lifestyle.
Phuket has an established tourism infrastructure and growing number of luxury residential and resort developments; it is already a fast growing destination for the affluent. By bringing charter brokers from around the world to the heart of the Asian cruising grounds, the Phuket Yacht Show will be able to show them the potential that is ready to be realised in these exotic, unspoiled and uncrowded waters.
The combination of all these factors gives the Phuket Yacht Show the potential to be as successful as any of the established charter shows and a highly important event for the regional yachting industry.