Asia Pacific Superyachts has announced that charter tax in Tahiti has been reduced to five per cent of gross revenues, from a previous rate of 12 per cent. This drop in charter tax, combined with the recent extension to 36 months of levy-free cruising, offers further incentive for yachts to visit the region.

“We hope this change will help more guests decide on our islands as their next charter destination and enjoy the French Polynesia-preserved marine environment and fun land based activities,” says Etienne Boutin of Asia Pacific Superyachts Tahiti.

Boutin adds that French Polynesia charter regulations had first been put in place in 1995 but were simplified in 2004, with 100 large yachts reported to have applied for charter licences since then. The licence is granted to yachts over a certain size and quality, which currently requires a yacht value of over $1 million, a weekly charter tariff over $15,500 and a minimum of three crew.

The Golden fleet cruised in Tahiti during the 2013 season.

The change in tax legislation arrives near to the completion date of a new Tahitian marina under construction in downtown Papeete, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. While the new marina will only be able to service the smaller end of the superyacht spectrum, with three initial berths for yachts up to 35m, there are already the established superyacht marinas of Marina Taina and Papeete Port, and the recently opened MaiKai Marina offering deepwater anchorage for superyachts.

Speaking to earlier this year, Stephen Fisher, general manager of Rivergate Marina and Shipyard in Australia, explained that the profile of Tahiti is increasing as a viable superyacht destination. “What we’re seeing is a lot of big boats relocating to countries like Tahiti and Fiji and the South Pacific and they are wandering through those regions for long periods of time without going back to the Northern Hemisphere,” he said. “They find the area new, exciting and safe.”

“The flow of large yachts has become very regular in Tahiti since the Millennium and seems to encompass all seasons now, with an average 90 days' stay and a peak season from June to end of August,” adds Boutin. “Our concierge desk has been busy all year round booking a variety of activities for guests and crew in Tahiti and other famous leeward islands like Bora Bora, Huahine or Taha'a. We have also organised more adventurous cruises in the Marquesas archipelago this year.”

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