Australian Opens Up Great Barrier Reef to Superyachts

Marine Tourism is a significant part of the Australian economy and a growing contributor to the country’s tourism offering. Tourism Australia markets the Great Barrier Reef as one of its iconic tourism destination to the global market.

Yet yachts over 35 metres have been unable to enjoy this iconic destination forcing superyacht owners to take their vessels to Fiji and other Pacific countries rather than spending their tourism dollars in Australia.

For the last nine years Superyacht Australia (SA) has been seeking to reform the Whitsundays Plan of Management in order to facilitate greater access for vessels over 35 metres in length. Now their efforts appear to have born fruit.

Clearly the Turnbull government has read the Superyacht industry economic impact study and understands the value of the jobs and economic benefits of this sector to Australia, regional Australia in particular.

Superyacht Australia CEO MaryAnn Edwards has said, “This small move in regulations will have a big impact on regional economies who can now finally look to see greater utilisation of marina and refit facilities and the enormous

spend with local businesses that comes with this.”

Australia has some of the most spectacular cruising destinations and attractions in the world, and about 70 per cent of all international visitors report enjoying coastal experiences as part of their trip.

With Tourism identified as one of five ‘super sectors’ to drive Australia’s prosperity into the future, the ability to cruise in the Great Barrier Reef will not only attract more vessels to Australia but they will stay longer and Superyacht Australia is already developing the marketing collateral to make this happen. An exciting new cruising itinerary calling in at all the major superyacht marinas from Cairns to Tasmania is currently being developed and will be promoted at the Monaco Yacht show.

David Good, Operations Manager for Cairns Marlin Marina, welcomed the additional superyacht anchorages commenting, “Many superyachts over 35m have been deterred from heading south for cruising due to the restrictions on access for vessels in the Whitsundays. With superyachts limited to a maximum of 12 persons it was always very hard for visiting captains to understand the restrictions on access to one of the world’s best cruising grounds. These 21 new anchorages will really open up another cruising option and benefit the whole region by encouraging these vessels to stay longer and venture further. The maintenance and logistics these vessels require when in the area, benefit a massive number of small businesses, something that many businesses in regional Queensland will welcome”

There is no doubt the superyacht industry provides economic benefits to the Australian economy across an array of industries, including, tourism, transport and marine maintenance.

A recent study commissioned by Superyacht Australia found the industry contributed a total of $1.97 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2016 financial year.