PHUKET: After months of reporting one marine mishap after another, the inaugural Thailand Yacht Show (TYS) comes as a refreshing and long overdue reminder of just how important the marine leisure industry is to the island – and why all sides need to work harder to further develop the province into the true marine hub of the region.
Phuket’s marine industry has certainly come a long way in recent decades, with a huge expansion in yachting facilities, as well as steady growth in the availability of all the related goods and support services needed to keep these vessels operational, safe and in line with marine-safety regulations.
The island has also witnessed the development of several new, privately-funded marinas, as well as some improvements to existing government facilities, such as the one in Chalong Bay.
There is a well-known adage among recreational boat owners: a boat is a hole in the water into which one throws money.
The saying may be particularly true for private boat owners in more northern climes, where vessels need to be pulled out of the water and dry-docked at the end of each yachting season. However, here in Phuket, the reality is that pleasure craft can be enjoyed year-round; it is also far less expensive to outsource some of the more unpleasant maintenance tasks.
While some past governments have eased regulatory restrictions on the industry in order to foster growth, the fact remains that many foreign vessel operators still find existing Customs and Immigration restrictions on their vessel and crew too time-intensive, confusing and costly to entice them to stay here for any meaningful length of time.
Fortunately, the current government is pushing to further ease the restrictions to draw in more foreign charter vessels, including allowing local charters of foreign superyachts, which bring in a great amount of foreign exchange earnings every time they port here. Far from being ‘holes in the water’, they are more like enormous, luxurious barges transporting pallets of cash to our shores.
The Phuket Gazette and PGTV, along with our partner newspaper The Nation, are proud to be the national media partners for the TYS, the country’s largest and most lavish annual marine leisure event.
— Phuket Gazette
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