The show was originally scheduled to take place at the Yacht Haven Marina Phuket at the end of 2014, but this has since been revised to February 2015, due to delays in the major redevelopment of the site.
However, according to Stefan Strehl, who operates as a freelance superyacht industry consultant in Thailand, the marina is the wrong place for an event if this magnitude. “In my humble opinion Yacht Haven is too far away from any proper supporting infrastructure like public transport, restaurants, bars, parking spaces, and has a very narrow entrance to the public parking area,” Strehl explained. He also questioned the overall quality of the marina, although this is the subject of a major redevelopment in line with hosting the charter show.
“With a superyacht show people visiting need nearby hotels, transportation and generally a bit of a presentable area and after-show a bit of r& r,” he added. “This is going to be a big issue there.”
The marina however, has been identified by regional agent Asia Pacific Superyachts as a ‘prime superyacht destination’ and its manager, Nick Wyatt said:
“As a major full service marina in SE Asia we believe Yacht Haven has an important role to play in driving this part of Thailand’s tourism sector. Presently with a restaurant, bar, gym, pool and accommodation, plans are underway to upgrade and increase our shoreside services. With a further 30 superyacht berths planned for the next year and the aspiration to constantly improve our personal service, at all levels, we aim to keep Yacht Haven Marina a secure, choice destination.”
Whether these berths will materialise is up for debate, as SuperyachtNews.com received no response from either Yacht Haven or the show’s organisers, Singapore Yacht Events.
But regardless of when this infrastructure project is completed, Strehl is resolute in his opinion that it would be better served at neighbouring Ao Po Grand Marina. ”It is much better maintained, nearer to the island’s centre, has better parking spaces and is more suitable to accommodate a show like this”, he said.
“On top of that, with the construction of the new protecting breakwater underway on the northern part, there will be a more of the much-needed protection, and an increase of safe berths for larger yachts as well.”
Indeed Asia Pacific Superyachts said of the marina, ‘with a capacity of 200 berths and well placed for cruising the magnificent Phang Nga Bay, [the marina] can host yachts up to 80metres-plus and has a special focus on facilitating superyachts. The agent also praised its ‘proximity to major facilities.’
Ao Po Grand Marina.