Super Yachting relies on its traditional market with customers coming mostly from the USA and Europe. Brokers were discussing the problems encountered by European clients, at a recent seminar and believe it is imperative that the industry looks at other markets.
Antoine Althaus, one of the founders of Fraser Yachts in Monaco said, “On the point of retiring from this exciting profession and based on my experience gained since 1968, I am convinced it is in a crisis that man finds his creativity and solutions. It is up to us, to you, to keep the New Small Yachting World alive,” said.
According to his colleague Hein Velema, the charter market is bearing up better. American customers, the first to exit the crisis and who are now being helped by the dollar’s exchange rate, are returning to Europe. Business is up 10% compared to that in 2011. They are followed by Russian and Brazilian clients.
“Today we face political instability in Russia which encourages potential clients to remain discreet although there is strong interest from a young Russian clientele,” observes Sergei Dobroserdov, Director of Nakhimov.
Referring to the agreement signed recently between the Yacht Club de Monaco and the Visun Royal Yacht Club in Sanya China Bernard d’Alessandri believes the Chinese appear to want to learn about the yachting lifestyle. He observes, “Facilities are ready with nearly 400 marinas in place.
However, we need to take into account their ancestral culture, the complete opposite to that of the West, including a desire to protect themselves from the sun, restrictive legislation on yacht imports (43.6% tax and only boats less than a year old can be imported), and not forgetting the numerous regulatory constraints inherent in navigation.
75% owned, by the Chinese Weichai Group the Ferretti Group are working closely with China. Luca Boldrini, Sales Director of CRN a member of the Ferretti Group said, “I can tell you they are working to learn and teach in China the ‘Life Style’ and if we in the West will be able to support them and be willing to revise our products and we are willing to listen and understand their way of life, I think, that since the speed of growth of that market, and their dynamism and their wealth… the Boat Industry world is promising in the medium and long-term”, This optimism is shared by Alberto Spina, of the same Group who has announced the imminent launch of a yacht services yard in Hainan.
Although a lot of professionals say they will be taking part in the next Hainan Rendezvous (30th March – 2nd April 2013), many think the industry will have to be patient before being able to sell yachts in Asia.
By contrast and in the short-term, the Riviera and Monaco are attractive destinations for this clientele. It is essential to focus on the quality of the welcome by adapting to suit their interests to help them discover the yachting “lifestyle”.
Looking beyond Asia, some, industry grandees like Marcello Maggi, President and co-founder of Isa Superyachts, are relying on emerging South American markets whose navigational culture is closer to that of traditional yachting.