Australia was strongly represented at a VIP Round Table last week in Hainan China, considered to be the first step in developing and delivering a Marine Tourism Summit for Hainan in March 2019.
Former AIMEX CEO and board advisor Mary Anne Edwards was invited to attend the summit. Edwards said, “For many years we have heard the yachting industry talk about China and the expectation that great things would happen. But outcomes for many have been slow and those who are starting to get some traction have invested heavily in this market over a long time. Having said that however, we all know China continues to present a huge opportunity for our industry sector. Being involved in the forum was interesting especially with the number of industry stakeholders in attendance. I will be reporting back to the AIMEX board and we will watch the future progress in Hainan with interest. If the vision is realized this will definitely be a place Australian businesses should look closer at.”
Arthur Tay, Chairman and CEO of SUTL Enterprise and ONE°15 Marinas and the key driver for this summit invited Martin Redmayne, Managing Director of The Superyacht Group based in the UK to mediate the forum comprising key international stakeholders and to discuss their views of what needs to happen in Hainan to drive a successful marine tourism industry. A key group of industry stakeholders from Australia was assembled including MaryAnne Edwards representing AIMEX, Cameron Bray, Bray Management and Jamie MacPhail from Pantaenius. Australia’s refit yards, supply chain quality, marina developers and coastline were used as examples of best practice when discussing the way forward for Hainan.
Jamie MacPhail, CEO, Pantaenius Australia stated “The opportunity to be involved, offer some thoughts regarding the part insurance plays in the global marine industry and the ability to network with some experienced industry stakeholders was valuable. Whilst Pantaenius cannot currently operated within the China market it is clear the future opportunity is significant.”
Cameron Bray, Director, Bray Management said “Hainan has the rare opportunity of a blank canvas to work with. There is a lot of synergies between the developing Australian market and the Hainan yachting market. There is opportunity for Australian companies to offer guidance and transfer of skills and information.
Arthur Tay in his opening address said “It will, in my opinion, be the greatest yachting and marine tourism opportunity in the world, with one of the largest consumer bases on the planet and an ever growing ultra-wealthy and middle-class population. There have been marine events, boat shows and yachting festivals over the past decade that have delivered a taste of the luxury lifestyle that marine tourism delivers, but the Chinese customer likes to make sure they are not making mistakes and want to really understand the concept.”
Tay further commented “Over the coming years and based on announcements from the government at the recent BOAO Forum for Asia in Hainan, the desire to create a yachting and marine tourism culture will grow and become more acceptable. It is anticipated that by 2025, several thousand yachts will be owned, used and chartered along the diverse coastline of China by the vast number of ultra-wealthy consumers.”
Hainan as a tropical island will develop eight towns as first class yachting destinations along its coastline, according to the Sea Defence and Port Office of Hainan Province. This will include fishing, sailing, diving, yacht racing, yachting and all manner of marine tourism, which is expected to contribute 10% of annual tourism revenues to Hainan Province by 2025.
In order to deliver the perfect environment and route to ownership for these consumers, the Central and Hainan governments recognise the need to create a strategic plan to build the right infrastructure, develop the perfect partnerships and deliver the optimal ownership, tax and legal structures, so the Marine Tourism industry in China will flourish and grow.
Mr Tay stated, ONE°15 Marinas, part of the SUTL Enterprise plan to support this strategy by creating what will be known as a “string of pearls” in terms of first-class infrastructure and marina developments.”
Summit guests were asked to share their expertise and be part of a unique knowledge transfer, to help educate relevant government departments and marine authorities to build and deliver a Marine Tourism Road Map for Hainan and ultimately China.
Martin Redmayne of The Superyacht Group, reinforced his pleasure in being involved in this two-day VIP Roundtable. He advised invited delegates that the contribution they will make and the output and results of the discussions will be a key ingredient to supporting the Marine Tourism Strategy that Hainan and China want to deliver.
“The potential and appetite for yachting, charter yacht ownership and marine tourism in China is incredible. It is often described by the traditional yachting sectors as a long term and patient game. However, we are confident that this VIP Round Table and the Marine Tourism Summit in March 2019, will be a catalyst for the growth and development of a robust and intelligent model for China.”
Mr Redmayne advised that the valuable ideas, experience and knowledge would be integrated within a working document and form the basis for a Strategic Business Plan for the Hainan Government and the relevant departments to formulate and build the ideal model for Marine Tourism.
Edwards in a final comment agreed the two-day forum had been successful and well organized. “Delegates spoke frankly and openly and the representatives from the Hainan government certainly appeared to be listening and appeared very aware of the issues they are facing to create a marine tourism strategy”.
The Marine Tourism Summit Hainan will be held from March 25-27 at the Raffles Hotel Hainan.