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DaVinci charters steps forward for 2012 Bay Regatta

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: It’s not unusual when marinas and yacht brokers cross over into the restaurant business, but co-sponsor of the Bay Regatta 2012, Phuket’s iconic Italian restaurant DaVinci – scored a first when they crossed in the opposite direction.

Sponsoring yachting and yacht racing is one thing – and DaVinci has shown other island businesses how that should be done – but what’s an Italian restaurant doing dipping its toes in the yacht charter market?

According to DaVinci partner, David Roberts, also CEO of Aedas, the world’s largest architectural outfit, the move should come as no surprise.

“The restaurant and boats are individual business units, but as part of the same brand they’re complementary – as will be our future real estate and retail businesses. The key underlying thread is our ‘lifestyle concept’, which is not limited to any one type of business,” he explained.

A clever master plan or just a bit of a hobby? Neither really.

“I don’t subscribe to any hobbies; DaVinci is a viable ongoing business, but it all began quite casually over a bottle of fine wine with my business partner Mark Norris,” said Roberts.

“As an architect, I’m in the business of creating buildings and places that are ever more a reflection of lifestyle aspirations. DaVinci is my interpretation of what a lifestyle brand can be in Asia and, after the purchase of my first boat in 2010, the charter business seemed a natural progression for the DaVinci lifestyle concept, at the same time as promoting the brand through yacht racing,” he said.

From that first boat purchase in 2010, the fledgling DaVinci Yacht Charters already operates four vessels: an Andaman Cabriolet sailing catamaran, a Sunseeker Manhattan 50 fly-bridge power yacht, a classic sailing yacht, (Willow II – based on a 200 year old design) and the soon-to-arrive DaVinci 007 ‘Hovpod’ hovercraft.

On whether it makes sense for a restaurant business to take a crack at the yacht charter market, Roberts said, “DaVinci offers a different approach, whereby boating alone is only part of the experience – and not necessarily the major part. Our bespoke packages meet the expectations and needs of our customers, for whom entertaining, adventure or simple relaxation may be their main motivations.”

But where does sponsorship fit into all this? Mr Roberts said, “As with all my businesses, community engagement is a key pillar of being relevant to the communities in which we live and do business. This keeps us relevant and tuned in with people and places, as well as informing us on business opportunities, while enhancing the reputation of our brand. Yachting is great way to get rid of the stress and pressures of business. I’ve always enjoyed sailing and participated in a few King’s Cup Regattas, so yachting was a logical choice as a sponsorship vehicle.”

Sponsorship has certainly helped establish brand recognition for DaVinci the restaurant; high profile Phuket Raceweek sponsorship for three consecutive years, the donation of a floating pontoon to Ao Chalong Yacht Club and the purchase of a training Optimist dinghy for young Thai sailors in Ao Yon have all contributed to the brand’s exposure.

“Taking on the role as a major sponsor of Phuket’s own Bay Regatta was the logical next step as we move forwards with our yacht charter business. Not only does it reinforce that we’re serious about DaVinci’s yachting arm, but as the region’s premiere cruising lifestyle regatta, there’s a perfect fit,” said Roberts.

But what about Roberts’ own time on the water? “I must confess that, although we’re serious about the business side, I have priority on taking the boats out and thoroughly enjoy the time we spend on them with family and friends,” he said.

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We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

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“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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