Australian government to review superyacht charter regulations (30 June 2012)

Current framework is seen as a barrier to growing the superyacht industry
Superyacht Australia, the trade body for the superyacht industry in the country, has forwarded a submission to the Australian government asking for an urgent review of the regulations affecting superyachts wishing to charter in Australian waters. Current regulations are seen as a barrier to growing the superyacht industry in the country.
The submission estimates that Australia would see a doubling of the number of superyachts coming to Australia and a subsequent doubling of revenue for the country and an increase of jobs for the sector if the current charter regulations are relaxed.
Australia is facing increased competition from other Asia Pacific countries that have understood the significant economic return the countries can generate from this sector. Fiji for example as a result of relaxing their charter regulations returned over US$3million from five charters in 2011.
MaryAnne Edwards, Superyacht Australia CEO, says: “If we don’t act now to address the barriers to grow our competition particularly in Tahiti, Fiji and New Zealand will be firmly established, leaving us behind. The economic return to the country and the jobs it would create is significant. There is really no downside to this issue as the government is receiving no revenue from this charter sector currently as we are being bypassed for countries that make it easier for visiting superyachts to charter.”
The drive to open up the superyacht charter market is supported by the government’s 2020 strategy, which is focused on attracting high yield tourists looking for those high end quality products.
The superyacht industry has been less affected by the global financial crisis returning €24 billion (to the global economy) in 2010. Australia only attracted a tiny percentage of this. “Relaxation of the charter regulations in Australia would have a huge flow on effect for those involved in superyacht refits, repairs and provisioning. A superyacht that comes to charter is far more likely to then undertake key refit work while in the country. This work is now going to our competitors,” claims Superyacht Australia in a statement.
Reports estimate that the global superyacht fleet totals 4,209 yachts, all of which are looking for new and exciting destinations. “With the new marketing campaign driven by Tourism Australia also focusing on these high end experiences the opportunities for the charter tourism sector to increase revenue is huge. Especially when you consider that for every $1 spent on tourism there is a flow on effect of 91 cents to other parts of the economy,” reads the statement.
Edwards adds: “At a time when we are looking for export revenue, to create more jobs and look after regional areas across all states and boost tourism numbers, the response has to be positive.”
Superyacht Australia is doing considerable work to remove the barriers to growth within this sector. Other barriers include the 35-metre rule in the Great Barrier Reef, pilotage costs and the need for increased infrastructure.
The Australian government has passed Superyacht Australia’s submission to Treasury and Customs for review. (IBIPlus, 28 June 2012)

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