Data released by Superyacht Australia, the regions central body for the superyacht industry, shows that foreign superyachts stayed an average of 73 days in Australia in 2019, compared to an average for 41 days in 2018, representing a 79 per cent increase in the length of stay in only a year. The economic impact of this increase was just over $68,872,000 and represents an increase of 60 per cent on the $39,843,000 generated in 2018.
The passage of the Special Recreation Vessel Act, which was passed in 2019 by the Australia’s federal government, allows for foreign flagged vessels to charter in Australian waters. As a result, Australia saw its first charter in December, with Hollywood actor Will Smith chartering a superyacht out of Cairns. With the passage of these laws, it is expected that Australia will see a further 300 per cent increase in visitation over the next three years.
Over the course of 2019, Queensland saw the highest number of visiting superyachts along with the longest duration of stay, generating an 87 per cent increase compared to 2018.
“The Queensland state government has supported the industry through their Superyacht Development Strategy. The state government established a fund that helped Queensland businesses attend overseas events and for shipyards to meet international compliance standards required for this high level of work. This type of government support has certainly paid off in visitation and encouraged significant private investment in the refit and maintenance industry in Queensland, which in turn means substantial jobs for marine trades,” comments David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia.
After Queensland, the highest superyacht visitation in Australia was to New South Wales, followed by Western Australia and Victoria. While Tasmania was visited by the largest superyacht, 84m S/Y Aquijo.
“Tasmania was a great surprise! Both the guests and crew fell in love with its isolated beauty,” comments Captain Gerhard Velman from Aquijo. “Tasmania is ideal for a two-week cruise as there are so many great and interesting sailing opportunities. The locals were really friendly and helpful plus keen to ensure we had a truly memorable experience. Tasmania is definitely a hidden gem.”
Superyacht Australia has been working in partnership with Tourism Australia to promote the benefits of the Australian of cruising in Australia for guests and crew alike, Australia’s refit offering, maintenance facilities and various services.
““There has been over $150M spent on refit infrastructure in Australia in the past 12 months alone. This is the benefit we provide vessels in the Asia Pacific region; they do not need to venture all the way back to Europe or the East Coast of the USA for world class survey or refit services. The longer a vessel stays in the Pacific, the more the whole region benefits and with the current low incidence of COVID-19 in the region, we will remain a popular destination for these vessels for some time,” continues Good.
In 2021, the Pacific will host both the Americas Cup in Auckland and the Tokyo Olympics. Both these international events are predicted to bring even more superyacht business to Australia. Furthermore, with an estimated tripling in visiting foreign flagged vessels to the region, Superyacht Australia predicts that some 11,800 jobs will be created for Australians in servicing these vessels.
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