PHUKET: Dates for the first edition of the Phuket Yacht Show, now known as the Thailand Yacht Show, have finally been confirmed by organizers Singapore Yacht Events Pte Ltd (SYE) following a partnership agreement signed recently with the Marine Department of Thailand’s Ministry of Transport.
The event is destined to become the focal point of the luxury charter yacht business in Asia Pacific, and is set to take place February 11 to 14, 2016 at Phuket’s Ao Po Grand Marina.
Momentum and interest in Thailand’s charter potential have been building in recent months after discussions between key players in the local yachting community and the country’s Ministry of Transport resulted in last month’s landmark announcement of a new licence for foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Thai waters. Government officials were quick to understand and accept the industry working group’s proposal, which outlined the important economic impact from visiting luxury yachts.
“With superyacht charter now being legalized in Thailand, and with the Government and all the other stakeholders aligned, the time is right for us to launch the new Yacht Show with industry-wide support,” said Andy Treadwell, founder and owner of SYE. “Ao Po Grand Marina is a perfect location for the event and we look forward to providing this new, crucial platform to capitalize on Thailand’s stated objective of becoming the principal yachting destination hub for Asia.”
Already well known to superyacht owners for its superb cruising grounds, Phuket is strategically located for yachts coming from the Mediterranean to visit South East Asia and the Pacific beyond. It is considered the main infrastructural ‘hub’ for large yachts cruising the region, with over 100 superyacht berths available between the Ao Po Grand Marina and Phuket Yacht Haven alone, as well as ample first class service companies.
The new licence effectively opens up the entire region to superyacht charter, a serious financial incentive for many overseas owners considering bringing their yachts to South East Asia at the end of the summer season in the Mediterranean, instead of plying the usual route West to the Caribbean. It provides Thailand and the rest of Asia Pacific with an essential tool in its quest to become the third global yachting destination, with Phuket at its epicenter.
“Recent years have already seen a significant upswing in the number of foreign flagged yachts visiting Phuket, usually on the way to and from the rest of South East Asia, even without the ability to charter,” said Dr Chula Sukmanop, director general of the Thai Marine Department. “This year already, over 75 superyachts have cruised through Phuket alone. We want to encourage these yachts to stay for longer and use it as a base from which to charter, and we want more and more of them to come.”
The Thailand Yacht Show aims to bring potential buyers, as well as the charter brokerage community, to Ao Po Grand Marina, which has a capacity of 260 yachts.
Smaller yachts and boats, both new and pre-owned, will be on display for sale as well as for charter.
“We are proud to have been chosen by the government and the organizers to provide the backdrop to this most significant yachting event, which will offer visitors from all over Thailand and the wider region, as well as Phuket’s many affluent residents, the chance to experience and explore the enormous potential for cruising in the region,” said Kasem Chiarasomboon, managing director of Ao Po Grand Marina.
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