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The Growth of the Asian Yachting Industry

The Growth of the Asian Yachting Industry

As we move into the boat show season in Asia, it is interesting to see how things have changed over the last year in our industry.
Despite the ongoing economic turmoil in Europe and elsewhere in the world, the yacht industry in Asia continues to grow and we are seeing more overseas large yachts visit our shores. It is fair to say that, outside of China, boat sales have slowed in terms of numbers but in terms of quality they seem to be on the increase. This is also reflected in visiting yachts; Phuket has seen one of its busiest seasons in many years, with yachts having to be turned away due to lack of berthing space. This is a problem encountered elsewhere in Asia, and it desperately needs to be addressed if we are to see continued growth of the industry and benefits to the economies where people wish to visit and keep their yachts. The boat show diary for March, April and May has us going back and forth around the region, with each show telling us thatit is the most important in the region, with visitor numbers that makes one’s eyes pop out! These shows, coupled to the Asia Superyacht Conference in Singapore and the fiftieth anniversary of the Rolex China Sea Race, offer a feast of yachting events to choose from in the coming few months. Other events later in the year including a planned superyacht rendezvous in Hong Kong in November which will allow owners and their guests to enjoy their yachts in ways they may not have previously done so. It may even encourage prospective owners to put pen to contract.

International industry visitors will need to choose carefully which shows they attend and only with properly audited visitor numbers can a true reflection of visitor traffic be known. It’s the dealers who really know how successful a show has been, and while many will claim they had dozens of firm leads or certain sales announced, in reality it is the six months following a show that tells if leads were serious and sales made.

The superyacht sector in Europe seems to have settled a bit and while we are still seeing price reductions – some quite significant – things seem to be stabilising. The very large yacht order book (over 70 metres) is now very strong, though it is fair to say that orders in the 40 to 60-metre range are not as healthy as they have been Market openings The growth and potential of the Asian yachting market is now clear to see for the world’s builders, and the broad-based benefits it could bring require an industry voice
in the past. Asia continues to grow and industry players from overseas still see China as the honey pot, though it is fair to say that the rest of the region is as attractive if not more so as a whole. In light of this, the Hainan Rendez-Vous is an increasing must for visitors and the two shows in Singapore along with the conference there must also be very attractive. With a (admittedly) biased view, I am glad that the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association (APSA) will be present at all the major shows in the region in some form, be it with a booth or Members Lounge, or simply with key personnel walking the shows. While still young, APSA is working hard to promote the region as a whole to locally-owned and visiting superyachts, and by working as a team, members of APSA will all gain in some way by unifying the industry to offer all round opinions and expertise in areas than need assistance and improvement.
While it is up to local associations to work on local issues, APSA as a regional association is able to support with regional expertise that will be able to help in local situations. APSA is in the process of creating working groups to tackle real issues, with members forming these groups to really make a difference. It is by working together with the bigger picture in mind that we can achieve what is needed and the industry can grow as a whole. We can offer owners and crew the facilities they need in order to feel relaxed about cruising our fabulous coastlines.

This will surely create jobs and generally improve local economies throughout the region, as money is spent on everything from flowers to fuel and hotels to high-end couture. The mood in the region seems cautiously optimistic for our industry, and with more owners of superyachts looking to grace our shores lets make them welcome and really show how wonderful the Asia Pacific is and what good hosts we can be.

Words by Colin Dawson of the George Group in Hong Kong

Colin is a specialist yacht insurance broker in Asia and is also the chairman of the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association.

Colin Dawson


Asia Pacific Superyacht Association
+66 819565865

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