Increasing Popularity of the Emerging Thai Boating Market

The seas surrounding Thailand make for some of the most beautiful and uncluttered cruising grounds in the world. This has long been the reason for the thriving boating scene here, as globe-yachters (not trotters) big and small have come from afar to enjoy the peaceful sailing and pristine waters. However, there is a shift to a more locally grown boating market which is closely correlated to the luxury property market. The voracity of the Asian HNW community as well as traditional Western holiday home buyers has increased the demand for luxury villas in Phuket - and for a yacht to go with it.

“Wealthy Asians are now a strong buying force for superyachts. Phuket’s status as a world-renowned yachting destination, thanks to its marinas and exotic outlying islands, could be enhanced through further development of the industry here, and boost the high end property market even more,” said Patima Jeerapaet, Managing Director of Colliers Thailand. Property agents CBRE agree reporting significant growth in the Phuket property market; especially at the higher end.

Local yacht brokers are also noticing the increase. Majesty Yachts, who started a major sales campaign in Asia in 2011, have been overwhelmed by the response of local buyers. Tony Nixey from Go Boating Thailand, the dealer for the Majesty brand, confirms that the number of yacht buyers based in South East Asia with holiday villas in Phuket is growing fast.

Erwin Bamps, COO of Majesty Yachts explains: “The sale of the Majesty 88 has now confirmed the importance of SE Asia for the sale of new boats to clients with an appetite for luxury yacht ownership, and we will continue our drive to be right at the heart of further developments in the region. We are convinced that SE Asia will be competing directly with the traditional cruising grounds of the West in the very near future, and our product range is ideally suited to these waters, and particularly to the aspirations of the potential clients who are based here.”

More boats means more marinas. Several marina developments are in planning stages on Phuket including an extension at the Royal Phuket Marina, venue for the Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX) in March 2012. Nearby Krabi is about to open a 100-berth marina as an extension of their Phuket-based property.

Informa Yacht Group, the organizers of PIMEX (29th March to 1st April 2012) are also seeing this sea-change manifested in the number and quality of yachts booking to be on display next year. “We had a 47% increase in the on-water display from 2010 to 2011 and a 25% increase in overall exhibitors; 2012 looks like seeing a similar increase. This is testimony to the stability and strength of the Asia-based buyer. In 2012, there will be a number of Asian and World debuts for many of the world’s leading brands; Sunseeker, Princess, Fairline, Monterey, Azimut and Prout International,” stated PIMEX Event Director, Andy Dowden.

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