Superyacht Australia has forwarded a submission to the Australian government asking for an urgent review of the regulations affecting superyachts wishing to charter in Australian waters. The current regulations are seen as a barrier to growing the superyacht industry in Australia and Australia is currently losing ground to other countries who have addressed this issue.
The submission estimates that Australia would see a doubling of the number of superyachts coming to Australia and a subsequent doubling of revenue for the country and an increase of jobs for the sector if the current charter regulations are relaxed. Australia is facing increased competition from other Asia Pacific countries who have understood the significant economic return the countries can get from this sector. Fiji for example as a result of relaxing their charter regulations returned over $US3million from 5 charters in 2011.
The potential is huge and this drive to open up the superyacht charter market is supported by the governments 2020 strategy focused on attracting high yield tourists looking for those high end quality products. The superyacht sector in Australia like many in the tourism sector is poised to take advantage of the significant growth in high net worth individuals coming from the emerging markets of Asia, China & India, looking for that unique experience.
The superyacht industry to a large extent has been unaffected by the global financial crisis returning 24 billion euro to the global economy in 2010. Australia only attracted a tiny percentage of this. The scope is enormous when you consider a superyacht spends 10% per annum of its value in maintaining the yacht. For example, a superyacht with a value of $50 million would spend a minimum $5 million on operational costs; maintenance, crew etc if it was cruising in Australia for 12 months.
MaryAnne Edwards, CEO of Superyacht Australia, the peak body for the superyacht industry said “The potential for Australia is enormous, if we don’t act now to address the barriers to growth our competition particularly in Tahiti, Fiji and New Zealand will be firmly established, leaving us behind. The economic return to the country and the jobs it would create is significant. There is really no downside to this issue as the government is receiving no revenue from this charter sector currently as we are being bypassed for countries that make it easier for visiting superyachts to charter.”
The global superyacht fleet totals 4209 yachts all over 30 metres. Relaxation of the charter regulations in Australia would have a huge flow on effect for those involved in superyacht refits, repairs and provisioning. A superyacht that comes to charter is far more likely to then undertake key refit work while in the country. This work is now going to our competitors.
Reports suggest that the global superyacht fleet is looking for new and exciting destinations and are tiring of the traditional cruising grounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Australia is that new destination with the ability to service high end clients and provide the iconic and unique experiences being sought by superyacht owners. With the new marketing campaign driven by Tourism Australia also focusing on these high end experiences the opportunities for this charter tourism sector to increase revenue for tourism and other key sectors is huge. Especially when you consider that for every $1 spent on Tourism there is a flow on effect of 91 cents to other parts of the economy.
Edwards said “it is a huge step forward for us that the government is looking at this issue and has passed our submission down to Treasury and Customs for review. We see no downside for the government just positives in terms of job creation and significantly increased revenue from this sector. At a time when we are looking for export revenue, to create more jobs and look after regional areas across all states and boost tourism numbers, the response has to be positive.”
Superyacht Australia is doing considerable work to remove the barriers to growth within this sector. Other barriers include the 35 metre rule in the Great Barrier Reef, pilotage costs and the need for increased infrastructure.