"We have forged a name for ourselves as a refit and build location, but it is time to talk about New Zealand as a cruising destination," said Jason Hill of Tourism Auckland. He spoke of New Zealand's beauty, epic coastline and variety of attractions like world class vineyards, golf courses, fishing and diving. However, Jeanette Tobin of Asia-Pacific Superyachts explained that the country needs more superyachts to make the journey to the Southern Hemisphere.
"We turn away ten charter enquires a year because there are not enough boats to accommodate them," she said, telling brokers that she wanted to know how New Zealand could attract more owners to its waters. "We already get 20 superyachts a year, but we need more."
During a question and answer session, Tobin was asked what she thought were the barriers preventing owners from venturing South. "Distance is a big problem," she answered. Cruising as a private vessel in New Zealand is extremely straightforward as no visa is required and only 72-hours notice is needed for customs paperwork. Charter is another matter though as a charter permit is needed and must be requested one month in advance. In addition, charters pay 15 per cent tax on the charter fee but can actually claim tax back on all expenses incurred during the charter - for example on crew wages, fuel and uniforms.
A broker at the breakfast told Superyacht News that New Zealand is making a concerted effort to promote itself to the high end markets - superyachts in particular. A trip for brokers is being planned in the near future to get them out there to experience what the country has to offer.
When asked whether they were working with other countries to make New Zealand a more attractive destination, Tobin said that they were working with countries in the South Pacific and Superyacht Australia to promote the region. "It's a really good network," she said. "We are working out something together to make a clear journey or trip for superyachts to take through the Panama Canal down to us and the South Pacific." Tobin explained that the size of yachts they need most are in the 35m to 45m region as those are the enquiries they are being forced to turn away.