For owners, captains and crews, the vast expanse of Asia can be incredibly intimidating. This, married with confusion over regulations, can mean that many yachts are put off cruising the region.
To try and address this issue, a round-table discussion at the Asia Pacific Yachting Conference (APYC) centered on the importance of strategic partnerships. CEO and founder of Indo Yachts, Nikko Karki, moderated the debate. The conversation focused on the importance of creating and maintaining strategic relationships among agents, captains and suppliers. How feasible would it be to have a crowded-sourced platform that outlined all the information yachts needed for the region? “I thought about confidentiality and privacy of our clients,” explains Karki, “So we can’t really have a public forum for information, but we can have an intermediary that filters that intel, so you don’t necessarily know the source of that information but you know it’s verified.”
Karki highlighted the importance of peer-to-peer reviews as an effective method of communication in the industry. As captains can be quite reticent to come to the area, this could perhaps be a way in which to alleviate any concerns that they may have. “Indonesia has quite a poorly communicated brand,” Karki admits. “There are a lot of misconceptions, mainly due to how vast the area is. If you try to make generalisation on such a large area, everything gets diluted. It’s sometimes more useful to talk about specific areas and suggestions on how to do things for specific customers.”
Interestingly, Karki highlights that those working within this region do have a sense of camaraderie, perhaps owing to their distance from more established yachting hubs. “In this region, we tend to attract a certain type of person who is very much open to doing different things. Everyone is supportive and helpful,” he explains. In a way, he believes that everyone works with an element of reciprocity, “Strategic partnerships are to the benefit of all, and I think that’s quite rare. You have people that you can count on that aren’t getting anything, no dollars exchange hands.” He argues that there is a sense of altruism in that all parties in South East Asia work together to bring more yachts to the region, which will ultimately benefit all.
When discussing the significance of the Singapore Yacht Show, Karki laments the lack of charter companies or experts that are readily available at the show to entice potential customers into the market. “The show has a lot of representation from the building side of yachts, the brokerage side or support services, but I would say the charter side is still very underrepresented.” This, however, cannot be separated from the very high taxes and regulatory codes that bind the charter yachts in the region, and is something that will plague many areas in South East Asia until governmental frameworks change. As many in the Asian region would argue that charter is the most successful path towards ownership, it’s surprising that there is not more of this side of the market evident at the show. “You’re talking about charting as a route to ownership, however, the charter possibilities are somewhat limited, in terms of the boats that [shipyards] are offering here. We need to get more of those boats flagged in the countries that they want to operate in,” he believes.
Finally, when discussing the show, Karki once again details the sense of community that is present for those who live and work in the region. “For me, it’s about coming with an open mind and expanding my understanding of the market. Mostly, what is going on and learning about regions that might be great for us to collaborate with.”
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