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Sun, sea and speed: A celebration of Asia’s yachting lifestyle

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Singapore  /  Fri, May 10, 2019  /  12:01 pm
Sun, sea and speed: A celebration of Asia’s yachting lifestyle

Illuminated: Over 16,000 guests came to the Singapore Yacht Show 2019 , which boasted over 150 exhibiting brands and companies. (Courtesy of Verventia/-)

Select members of the media, including The Jakarta Post, were invited to the Singapore Yacht Show by the organizer Verventia to view the showcase. Here is the report.

While fashion, food and family fun are also part of the nautical life, the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS)’s main attraction is definitely the lineup of yachts, some making their Asian premiere at the event.

With multimillion-dollar yachts up for sale at the show held at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, the yachting industry is seemingly a lucrative market, with one vessel even sold moments after members of the media were given a tour of it.

Andy Treadwell, CEO of SYS organizers Verventia Pte. Ltd., said five of SYS’s biggest exhibitors last year sold a record number of boats, with the exhibitors coming in larger numbers this year.

“We know that we can easily host 15,000 people here, and that’s probably around the numbers we’ll get. [...] In terms of objectives and sales, there is no such thing. We just want our customers to sell as many as possible for as high a value as possible,” Treadwell said.

This year, the show, in its ninth edition, hosted more than 16,000 visitors, 87 yachts and over 150 brands and exhibiting companies. The event, held from April 11 to 14, saw over 30 local and regional yachting premieres from the world's leading brands.

Pour it up: Soirees and functions allow guests to sample the event’s dedicated F&B section.Pour it up: Soirees and functions allow guests to sample the event’s dedicated F&B section. (Courtesy of Verventia/-)

Glamorous yacht parties, exhilarating watersport experiences, gourmet eateries, bustling bars and show-stopping supercar parades entertained guests for a four-day celebration of the yachting lifestyle.

Treadwell said Southeast Asia “has a fantastic future” because it was the biggest potential yachting destination in the world.

“For super yachts to come and cruise, which they would do if they were to charter when the owner’s not using it, I can tell you now that hundreds of boats would come to this region, especially Thailand and Indonesia, if they were allowed to charter,” he said.

He added that the potential could be realized within one or two years provided the governments changed their regulations.

“In Indonesia, there are several barriers. It’s already a very large country with [over] 17,500 islands, and the bureaucracy and the administration, which is absolutely necessary in such a large geographical area. It’s obviously going to be complicated from the start.”

Treadwell also pointed to issues like luxury taxes (PPnBM), which amount to 75 percent of the vessel’s value at the moment, as well as the value-added tax (VAT) being imposable on chartered private yachts, effectively the same as importing the vessel.

“So you’ve got several layers of bureaucracy and issues. If life was ideal, then the administration could change that all in one go, but that’s a guess and not very realistic.”

In a country like Thailand, he said, it was a lot easier because there were plenty of berths and marinas that could cater to super yachts, adding that if there was one regulation that needed changing, it was that you had to import a yacht in order to charter it. “That’s obviously much simpler to disentangle. You just need to get around one issue,” Treadwell said.

The ability to charter yachts is vital for the owners, as it allows them to mitigate the costs of bringing the vessel into the region in the first place as well as the running costs.

“Without the ability to charter, they will not do it. And that’s fact, they never have. In the last 50 years, boats have not come to Thailand and Indonesia for that reason.”

Italian horsepower: As part of the opulent yachting lifestyle, SYS 2019 also hosts several supercar meets of local car clubs.Italian horsepower: As part of the opulent yachting lifestyle, SYS 2019 also hosts several supercar meets of local car clubs. (Courtesy of Verventia/-)

Yacht dealer network Boat Lagoon Yachting Singapore country head Alister Brunskill said Indonesia was a prospective emerging market because of the wealth in the country and the attractive cruising locations within the islands.

His company sells yachts to many Indonesians who prefer to keep their vessels in Singapore or Phuket in Thailand.

“I think what Indonesia is waiting for is the infrastructure. To have the right marinas that can take luxury yachts. You’ve got to have the right facilities. So though the buying power is there, you also require the right infrastructure to be built to bring these products there,” Brunskill said.

Treadwell said infrastructure was not needed until the vessels started coming, which would only happen when the laws and regulations were changed.

“Yes, we do need infrastructure, but it’s horse-and-cart. Personally, I wouldn’t want to invest in a lot of infrastructure until I was sure the boats were able to come [...].” (ste)