The marine industry is calling for more facilities to accommodate superyachts in New Zealand, helping them to make the most of their visit to the islands according to the Destination New Zealand Superyachts Attraction Initiative Group.
Since last August, 57 superyachts have visited the country contributing more than $100 million to the economy. This is an increase of 20 hulls compared to last year, with Serene, the largest of them all extending her recent stay for maintenance works. This summer’s arrival figures mark the highest numbers since the America’s Cup in 2000, when between 90 and 100 superyachts came to Auckland.
The Destination New Zealand Superyachts Attraction Initiative Group, a promotional group compromising of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed), Tourism New Zealand, NZ Marine and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, say efforts are paying off to increase numbers, noting that the figures last year ran from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 while the most recent figures instead cover August 2014 to March this year.
The group has a target to attract 74 superyachts to New Zealand shores by 2018.
Jason Hill, tourism manager of Ateed, explained that each superyacht contributed more than $1 million to the economy with each visit, and in many cases more than $5 million. This includes spending on tourism by the guests and crew on board, and berthing and marine services for the yacht.
He said, “Auckland is renowned for its sailing and marine aptitude and valued for our internationally acclaimed superyacht new build, refit and maintenance capacity.”
Peter Busfield, executive director of the NZ Marine Industry Association suggested the reason for the recent soar in visiting superyachts is down to the country’s superyacht maintenance and refitting facilities, and recent changes in regulation, which now allows visiting superyachts to stay up to 24 months while also doing some limited chartering in New Zealand waters.
Auckland is the hub of New Zealand’s marine sector with up to 60% of the country’s industry based in the region, however, Mr. Busfield noted that there were not enough berths in the city to capitalise on the recent surge in numbers. He outlined that the Marine Industry Association is working with Auckland Council in order to make more room for superyachts in the Wynard Quarter.
At present, the global superyacht fleet consists of 4,896 superyachts with around 80% motor yachts and 20% sailing yachts.
For more information, visit the NZ Marine Industry Association.