This week two of the larger Superyachts (complete with their own helicopters sitting on the back deck) were among yachts berthed at Nadi’s Port Denarau Marina.
They, and the numerous smaller yachts now in Fiji, show the success of the Superyacht Charter Decree of 2010.
This decree was tabled by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
It put in place a number of initiatives to assist the viability of the industry, which at that time was inhibited by existing legislation.
This decree has now had almost 12 months in the market and the results have been spectacular.
There is now increasing interest from around the world amongst Superyachts for Fiji as a base of operations.
Forward bookings are showing strong growth.
A survey of the impact of Superyachts on the tourist industry in Fiji has just been completed. It was conducted by Port Denarau Marina and the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association Marine Industry Sub Committee.
It is estimated that in 2010, 700 yachts came to Fiji, of which 32 were Superyachts. The survey sample covered 50 vessels.
The survey only covers the revenue generated by foreign yachts visiting Fiji and does not take into account revenue from the domestic yacht market.
The total revenue from foreign yachts was estimated at $33 million.
The direct contribution to the government revenue was more than $3.8 million.
Departing guests also paid more than $613,000 in departure tax. More than 60 per cent of guests flew by the national carrier, Air Pacific contributing an estimated $6.6 million to their revenue.
In total there were 1006 guests on 32 Superyachts and 4567 guests on visiting yachts as well as a total of 1863 crew. Superyachts stayed in Fiji waters for an average of 136 days and visiting yachts for an average of 116 days.
By contrast, in 2010, cruise ship visits totalled 63 calls to various ports.
This with an estimated total of 96,000 passengers and an average stay of just over a day and a contribution to the Fiji economy of FJD6.4 million.
Although cruise ships bring significantly more passengers to Fiji, the impact on the economy is very much smaller than for yachts.
The industry is confident that the yachting tourism in Fiji, particularly the Superyacht segment is poised for significant growth over the next two years.
In announcing the decree, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had said: “The superyacht industry is the top end of the tourism sector. It is hardly ever, if ever affected by recessions.
“We have come up with a decree which will allow these superyachts to come and charter in Fiji, to cruise in Fiji.
“This will be of enormous economic benefit to Fiji. This initiative is also in line with the Prime Minister’s Budget of 2010 in which we have reduced for example the duty on marine vessels, this now helps to assist to create a marine industry in Fiji.
“Superyachts are big hand spenders and when they come to Fiji, they will actually use our services, buy our food, spend their money here, use local employees.
“This Decree has enormous support from all sectors.”
Fiji Sun – JOHN ROSS