Superyachts, by their very nature, are designed to move and travel. With the ever-increasing amount of yachts and the limited space of the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising destinations, many agents are looking to offer a broader range of destinations in order to attract new - and retain existing - clients.
“Simply put, our charter clients and yacht owners are searching for new experiences. The market now is keenly interested in new frontiers and experiences that truly offer rewards to those who are willing to travel to new destinations,” starts Joachim Howard, MD of Ocean Alliance, who organised an excursion for various industry representatives around a remote part of Australia known as The Kimberley earlier this year, in order to showcase the region as a charter destination.
The itinerary of the trip saw the guests visit a number of remote locations that require extensive planning and logistical organisation to visit. “Montgomery reef, Ruby falls, swimming in freshwater lagoons, viewing Wandjina & Tassel Bradshaw Aboriginal artwork, collecting fresh oysters at Samson inlet, beach campfires and sundowners at Port George, Prince Regent river expeditions and the famous Kings Cascade, to name a few,” lists Howard. The Kimberley covers an area of 400,000sqm and offers superyachts visiting the area a rare opportunity to feel like they are discovering uncharted territory.
Nick Heming, a broker for Y.CO, was one of the guests who took part in the expedition. Heming, who is based in the UK, sees the the trip as a successful way to showcase Australia as an option for charter guests, as well as supporting the growing superyacht market in the area. “The Australian superyacht market is still relatively in its infancy. I think anyone would agree with that, but the likes of Ocean Alliance are doing a really good job of trying to create awareness of the cruising areas that Australia has. It’s an incredibly diverse country to cruise, with all sorts of exotic and interesting places to visit.”
With two yachts currently available to charter in the region, ANDA and AKIKO, Ocean Alliance are content with concentrating on just a small fleet in the area at the moment. “We are focused on working with both vessels to develop the region and bring awareness to the international charter market, and we are fortunate to work with owners who are passionate about the region and want to see more charter clients experience the destination,” explains Howard. Of course, the isolated nature of the region is a core part of its appeal, meaning that a huge influx of yachts would ruin its very selling point. It is about striking the perfect balance between offering clients the opportunity to visit, without losing the appeal of being in a remote, far-flung destination.
The isolated nature of the region is a core part of its appeal, meaning that a huge influx of yachts would ruin its very selling point. It is about striking the perfect balance between offering clients the opportunity to visit, without losing the appeal of being in a remote, far-flung destination.
The familiarisation trip is another example of the market adjusting to ever growing percentage of clients who seek to use their yacht to venture into new areas. Due to the crowded and well-established nature of the Mediterranean, the many of the burgeoning areas for exploration are in the Asia-Pacific region. As Heming notes, these distance destinations are catering to a niche sector of the market, “I think we are seeing quite a large increase in younger clients who are more adventurous and wanting to do something that is a little bit more off the beaten track, as opposed to sitting at anchor in St Tropez,” he says.
Commenting on the changing landscape of the charter world, Heming has seen a noticeable change in the area's superyacht visits. “If you look at a map of the world, and put a pin where every superyacht is, you will see a number of yachts in all manner of exotic and remote parts of the world now, which is something that you didn’t really see 20 years ago,” he adds. In addition to the superyacht industry waking up to the possibility of clients visiting Australia, Heming points to the introduction of the world’s first non-stop flight between London and Perth, known as the Kangaroo Route, from Qantas Airlines. The 17-hour flight, which will begin in 2018, will no-doubt encourage more travellers to visit our antipodean neighbours.
In an industry where many discussions focus on the importance of introducing new clients into the market, the superyacht industry should take advantage of the rarely chartered territory available to us. The overwhelmingly positive feedback that Howard received shows that there is a very real opportunity to capitalise on these expeditions. “Many of the guests have never experienced such a destination before on a superyacht,” he explains. “The combination of unique cruising, incredible coastline, cultural immersion and natural wonders can deliver a bucket list destination for the adventurous client.” The industry must broaden its horizons, advising clients to take the lesser known route and enjoy the intrinsic freedom and possibility for exploration that comes from a superyacht.
Photo one: M/Y ANDA
Photo two: Kings Cascade