What are your expectations for this year’s event?
We expect the show to continue to grow its reputation and solidify its position as the main industry event in Asia. There are many shows that have been introduced in recent years, but in order for them to be effective and deliver the right visitors to the exhibitors and the appropriate quality of experience to the visitors, they need to have a purpose.
This year we are introducing interactive elements to the show that will help provide a fun and immersive experience for the visitors. There will be two distinct focuses: education and experience. The show is a platform for our visitors to learn about yachting and the truly luxurious lifestyle. This will take many forms, including displays that guide visitors through the best travel itineraries in Asia Pacific to those that highlight the importance of marine conservation to enjoying all that the oceans have to offer, as well as hands-on demonstrations with technical equipment and private parties on board superyachts.
What is the show’s key purpose/benefit for clients?
New business! We provide a proven platform that gives both the regional and international industries the opportunity to source new clients. We work very hard throughout the year to generate buzz in the marketplace and find new and creative ways to reach out to potential clients.
There is a genuine and growing interest in yachting here, both from new Asian buyers and from Western yacht owners bringing their yachts to the region to cruise. It’s obviously a small market compared with the more established ones in the US, Europe, Russia and the Middle East, and we are realistic that it will take time to mature. Buyers are unlikely to purchase very large superyachts as an entry-point to yachting; only a small proportion of people here are experienced sailors, compared to the West. But this is changing and there is a growing enthusiasm to spend time on the water.
Mediterranean-based owners and their captains are becoming more aware of the potential of Asia Pacific’s waters, which hold some of the few remaining areas of outstanding unspoiled beauty and do not suffer from the overcrowding of ‘traditional’ yachting hotspots.
How pivotal is the show to the future prosperity of the Asian market?
We are very conscious not to make generalisations on the market ‘in Asia’ as there are so many countries within this bracket that are at varying stages of development when it comes to the yachting market. For example, Singapore and Hong Kong have a much longer established history of yachting and boating than many other countries in the region. The Asia Pacific Yachting Conference (APYC) and the Asian Boating Forum (ABF) aim to bring together decision makers and key players in the region, allowing them to share experiences and discuss how to develop and improve the region’s market.
Beyond the activities of our conferences, we are very involved in driving the region’s various government policies on yacht charter and make this more accessible in more locations. Thailand, and in particular Phuket, has become a natural epicentre for charter in South East Asia, as has Indonesia. And with various local industry partners, we have made significant tangible progress in recent months with the Thai and Indonesian Governments in initiatives to get temporary immigration and charter regulations eased.
What are the key inhibitors to market growth in Singapore, and Asia more broadly? And how can they be addressed?
Historically, Asia’s yacht market was operating in an environment where potential owners have had less opportunity for exposure to the yachting lifestyle, particularly at the larger end of the spectrum. As globalisation and the fast-growing financial markets of Asia have provided international lifestyles that allow many wealthy Asians to experience and have the means to buy into a luxury water-based lifestyle, the overall interest has indeed grown.
Charter is a great way to ease someone into learning about yachting before they plunge into full ownership. But without the means to charter easily, the growth of the overall industry is stifled. We are working with industry representatives in a number of countries in South East Asia to demonstrate the undeniable economic benefit of yacht charter to the local economies where they visit. It’s a long process but we are making significant progress now and there is no doubt that once the regulations are eased, the growth in the yachting market - both for purchase and charter - will come.
SuperyachtNews.com is an official media partner of the show and will be co-hosting, alongside SuperyachtTimes.com, Singapore Yacht Show Insight, a series of interviews with key industry professionals attending the show. These interviews will be broadcast on SuperyachtNews.com during the course of the show.
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