PHUKET: The wet weather in Singapore shouldn’t have damped the spirits of Phuket’s leading brokers and charter companies who joined the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS) last week.
Many leading marine-industry operators in Phuket attended the show in hopes of tapping into the lucrative Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.
“The presence and enthusiasm of serious buyers and HNWIs [high net worth individuals] was felt strongly at this year’s show, with most exhibitors already committing to return next year with a bigger and better presence,” said Andy Treadwell, managing director of the show’s organizer, Singapore Yacht Events.
“Obviously, the heavy rain every day was very disappointing, but we are happy to hear that this has clearly not impacted the caliber of the visitors or the overall satisfaction of our exhibitors.”
Though it is too early to have specific figures on how well Phuket exhibitors did, Andy was confident that the connections created with qualified clients from mainland China and the wider Southeast Asian region would yield results.
“There could be weeks or months before they sign contracts. The important thing is that every single exhibitor we spoke to during the week said that it was the best year yet for them; good quality, qualified clients came to the show, and they saw serious interest in their products and services,” he said.
At the show, Simpson Marine had concrete results, as they achieved record sales and several signed contracts, including an Azimut 80 and two Lagoon 630s.
“Despite terrible weather, the serious buyers were not deterred and came out in full force. We could not have asked for better results and we continue to see year-on-year growth at the show,” said Mike Simpson, group managing director of Simpson Marine, based in Hong Kong.
“The buyers came from across the region, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, clearly demonstrating the show’s importance and reach in Asia.”
The event continues to be hailed as the most important boat show in the region, and will continue to support the industry in the entire region.
“By increasing support for the show from the world’s biggest brands in yachting, we give visitors from within Singapore, as well as the wider region, more reason to come and learn about leisure marine pursuits,” Andy explained.
“Increased awareness and uptake in yachting and boating will lead to a greater number of vessels cruising in popular destinations, such as Phuket.
“This increased popularity in cruising could result in a very real financial benefit through charter of yachts in countries such as Thailand. We are working hard with our partners to communicate the enormous fiscal opportunity that simply must be taken by reducing regulations in Thailand and other countries to allow foreign-flagged vessels to charter freely in the region.”
As first reported by the Phuket Gazette, the call for changes in chartering regulations for foreign-flagged superyachts was spearheaded by a group of key players in the local industry, including the SYS organizers who are planning to stage a major international superyacht charter show, to be sponsored by the Gazette, in Phuket.
The need for fiscal and regulatory reforms has also been taken up by Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The push for change not only affects those directly involved in the boating industry, but also the wider supply chain in the local economy – and, importantly, caters to HNWI tourists, who are becoming increasingly targeted by Phuket as the island shies away from the problems that come with mass-market tourism.
In step with such goals, the SYS hosted the live Lucanna Luxuria Auction, which saw several modern and contemporary art, jewelry, investment-grade gemstones and watches put on the block by Lucanna – Singapore’s first local boutique auction house.
“The Singapore Yacht Show is a landmark event and I have been attending it for the last two or three years,” said bidder Philippe Wimmer.
“I love the maritime flavor the show brings. I am here [at the auction] as all the pieces are amazing, but specifically I came for the watches. People who love yachts generally love watches and in particular the Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700, which is outstanding.”
Also targeting HNWI – and many a dreamer – the event included the Supercar Rendezvous, where colorful convoys of Lamborghinis and Ferraris were displayed at the Esplanade, as well as a Classic Car Concours d’Elegance.
— Isaac Stone Simonelli
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