Vanuatu has received a welcome boost for its bid to welcome greater numbers of superyachts to the country, with the recent legalisation of superyacht charter. The development was gazetted on March 25 after passing through the Vanuatu parliament at the end of 2013. Prior to the Import Duties (Consolidation) (Amendment) Act No. 29 of 2013, the laws of Vanuatu prohibited superyachts from chartering. A recent report by the Vanuatu Customs & Inland Revenue Department (VCIRD) writes that 'the govermental bodies had recognised that the availability of foreign registered vessels in Vanuatu for temporary charter has the potential to attract tourists to Vanuatu and to provide a, so far unrealised, source of revenue for both the Government and rural communities in the outer-islands.
"We've been working on this development for years so are very excited it's finally come to fruition," said Jess Bell of Kaleva Yacht Services, talking to "The South Pacific is not even close to being discovered in all its intricacies and if yachts can charter in various diverse locations across the South Pacific, owners will be more likely to bring their boats from the Med and Carribean into this cruising mecca." Bell agreed that visiting superyachts will have a hugely positive impact on the country. "For Vanuatu, one of the most beautiful and authentic but also one of the poorest countries in the world, more superyachts means more development spread throughout the least developed and most in need locations. We are so pleased the government of Vanuatu recognizes the great benefit of these yachts, helping to gracefully develop remote parts of the archipelago."

Port Vila - Vanuatu

The VCIRD report details that within Vanuatu a superyacht is defined as a pleasure craft valued in excess of Vatu 200,000,000 (c.US$ 2 million), with a permanent crew of three or more. Customs is committed to ensure the clearance of such vessels will be facilitated in order to allow for this industry to tap into the undiscovered Vanuatu.To operate within Vanuatu with paying passengers, the Act states that a superyacht now must:
(a) Hold internationally recognized survey certificates permitting charter;
(b) Gain permission to charter from the Licensing section of Ports and Marine in Vanuatu;
(c) Appoint a local agent registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and who holds a current business licence to operate as a ship’s agent.
(d)The local agent appointed by the vessel must pay VAT on all purchases made by the vessel while in Vanuatu and on any charter costs.

For superyachts not under taking charters, but operating on a purely personal basis, including carrying non-fare paying passengers, only (c) of the above list applies.

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