THE yachting industry has high economic potential, according to a policy dialogue paper prepared by the Marine Operators Sub Committee of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association in association with Sustainable Tourism International Ltd.
The Information Ministry said the presentation by John Philips of the Yachting Tourism of Fiji highlighted a positive trend as well as the high economic potential of the industry towards Fiji’s growth.
Prepared in 2010, it is the first ever written document exclusively analysing the yachting tourism sector in Fiji and also revealed positive trends of the yachting sector, the statement said.
“Sustainable and viable tourism alternative, yachting tourism doesn’t rely on airport so if there is an airport strike our customers are still happily spending money. Yachting is largely unrecognised and misunderstood by many of the government agencies involved in its regulation but that is now changing,” Mr Philips said.
“We do see a need to inform all the government agencies exactly what yachting tourism is, thus the yachting industry has conducted its own survey. It is an online survey conducted on 50 yachts that visited Fiji last year.
“Many times over, we’ve witnessed the negative effects of uninformed regulatory actions on the growth of the industry that’s why we formed this lobby group.
“A total of 7,436 tourists visited Fiji in the yacht tourism sector. The average length of stay in Fiji is 136 days for super yachts which is tremendous and 116 days for cruising yachts,” Mr Philips said.
“Every single day they are in Fiji, they’re spending money. The average spend per super yachts is $122,000. Average spend per cruising yacht is $32,000.”
According to Mr Philips, the total directing spend last year was $33 million and direct revenue to the government was $3.8 million.
“The yacht survey conducted at Port Denarau in 2010 suggests that super yachts, although less in number and overall passengers, have an average spend $122,143 which is more than other yachts $32,733.
“While super yachts are a relatively new market segment for Fiji, it is regarded as having significant potential.
“It is estimated that there are about 10,000 super yachts registered around the world with around 200 currently under construction,” Mr Philips said.
The survey also highlighted improved tax regulation which was made possible after a ground breaking meeting by the Marine Operators Sub Committee and Fiji Revenue Customs Authority last year.
“Positive changes included the abolition of the antiquated Domestic Clearance, duties on alcohol applied only to alcohol consumed in Fiji and not the entire ship stores, no need to apply for code 239 if entered 228, streamlining process for the five per cent duty on yachts imported into Fiji and Port Denarau and Port Mariner considered Ports of Entry.”
Mr Philips is optimistic that with Fiji’s geographical amenities and good international flight connection, the yachting tourism sector has a high potential for future growth.
“We believe Fiji should have the biggest multi-million dollar yachting industry in the Pacific.”