Red tape may prohibit foreign-flagged superyachts from conducting charters in Indonesian waters, but as Eddie Widnall, founder and charter manager at Ultimate Indonesian Yachts, explains, with a little local expertise in place, charterers can still enjoy the unique pleasures of this vast archipelago-state.
“The big boats are coming, and although they’re not allowed to charter because they’re not Indo-flagged, what they are doing is raising the profile of the region. My personal opinion is that it’s a good thing for the industry. I work with a couple of yacht agents in Bali – Asia Pacific Superyachts and Lighthouse Consultancy – and that makes things smoother. In Indonesia, communication is a massive issue so keeping those communications lines as short as possible is, to my mind, crucial.
“Each boat has its idiosyncrasies, which is another part of the battle, but it’s important to get over those [features] to the customers. For hardcore divers who want to use NOx there are some boats that do it better than others, and it’s the same with cultural trips into the jungle. It’s about getting to know all of the boats.
“But as far as customers are concerned, the big things are the logistics and the provisioning. We can get most things people want given time and requisite notice. Masseuses, underwater photographers, birdwatching guides – we’ve been asked for all sorts of things and it’s no problem. And with private jets, for example, its not like they’re 10 a penny and people are fighting over the business. It’s actually quite expensive in Indonesia and you have to know what you’re doing because the rules change every couple of months. So these things need to be considered.
“To give you an idea [of the growth of interest in the region] I booked a charter a couple of weeks ago for a guy I’d been speaking to, on and off, for two years. He was fascinated by the region but it took that amount of time for him to get both his diary sorted and his head around the logistics. What people generally do is come to me with their budget and what they do, and ask what I can recommend.
“Do your research, find someone you trust and embrace the adventure. When I sell Indonesia, I sell the boat, the destination and the experience. As people, the Indonesians are amazing; I also always sell the crew as very much part of the experience.
Read more articles about Indonesia in issue 22 of The Superyacht Owner, out this month.