The second edition of the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous, hosted and organised by Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM), was seen as an opportunity to bring together the primary stakeholders in Australia’s superyacht market, as well as individuals from further afield. The format of the event this year included an interactive roundtable-style discussion, with various members of the audience being called upon to answer questions and offer opinions on different subjects, from emerging markets to the new trends in luxury experiences. In addition to the industry roundtables, the event dedicated time to owner, crew and industry networking, as well as a showcase of all the yachts in attendance.
Much of the discussion centered on the charter regulatory framework that many believe is currently holding back the region’s superyacht activity. The association Superyacht Australia – among others – has been working to change the current charter regulatory framework, which (as it stands) means that any foreign flagged vessel coming into Australia is subject to high taxation on the value of the yacht itself, which has to be imported under customs for home consumption. This, as well as meeting stringent safety regulations from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the industry argues, limits the number of yachts in the region. Currently Australia only has one per cent of all the world’s superyachts.
Trenton Gay, CEO of GCCM and the organiser of the event, echoed many comments when he said that educating the Australian government on the importance (and beneficial impact) of the superyacht industry throughout the country is key. When this happens, he believes that the infrastructure needed to support larger vessels (50m+) will receive more investment, opening up the areas to more and more yachts. Further, the attendees agreed that Australia must market itself as a destination in its own right, promoting the cruising regions that are unlike anywhere else in the world.
The event saw a large lineup of Australian superyachts, including the debut of M/Y Oneworld, a 32m built by Gulf Craft and delivered just four weeks ago. Oneworld’s owners, Kylie and Rod Salmon, attended the event and took part in the discussions. “It is a disjointed industry here in Australia,” said Rod Salmon in a conversation with SuperyachtNews. “In Europe, everybody seems to have a collaboration or association. We don’t have that in Australia and I think bringing all these people together from all over was really useful to bring the focus in.” Oneworld will be based in Sydney and available for charter, with capacity to hold over 100 people for day cruises. For Salmon, he sees the Rendezvous as an opportunity to meet industry professionals and fellow owners, as well as educate him further on the wider superyacht world. “I think there has been a lot of networking and as I am new to the charter market, I have found it really useful.”
“In Europe, everybody seems to have a collaboration or association. We don’t have that in Australia and I think bringing all these people together from all over was really useful to bring the focus in.” Rod Salmon, M/Y 'Oneworld'
Although many in attendance saw the changing charter regulations as the route to more a successful superyacht market in Australia, a number of individuals also stressed the importance of building a fleet of domestic yachts available for clients. Jo Howard, managing director of Ocean Alliance agrees with this viewpoint, “We need to focus on how to get more traction with the domestic fleet that is here already,” he explained. “We’re seeing quite a number of 30m+ yachts on the charter market every year here in Australia. We have already seen two already this year, so that growth will continue and then we will have the largest permanently based fleet in this whole region.” Ocean Alliance, a Sydney-based brokerage firm, represented five of the yachts present at the Rendezvous.
The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous offered industry professionals, particularly those from Australia, an opportunity to gather together to share their views, with the aim to improve an industry with so much potential. Trenton Gay sees the event as an way to truly encourage change at the highest levels: “A lot of people enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Now we have just got to put that together and feed that information back out to the industry and the senior government. We will go to them and say, ‘This is what we have gathered, from an industry group sitting together over a number of hours, hashing out some questions and issues, and these are some of the pressure points’.”
The event aimed to be a platform for the international superyacht community to gather together to discuss the Australian market and its place in the global industry. The number of Australian superyacht owners, and the presence of stakeholders from the region (and from across the world) secures the Rendezvous as a must-attend event in the Australian superyacht calendar.
Don’t miss in-depth interviews with Rod Salmon, the Ocean Alliance team, a roundtable discussion with the Great Barrier Reef marina managers and more, in the coming weeks on SuperyachtNews…
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