Data released today by Superyacht Australia, the peak body for the superyacht industry, shows that foreign flagged superyachts stayed an average of 73 days in 2019 compared to an average of 41 days in 2018 representing a 79% increase in the length of stay.

The economic impact of this was just over $63,873,000 and represents a 60% increase on 2018’s already impressive economic impact of $39,843,000.

The passage of the Special Recreational Vessel Act in December 2019 by the Federal Government now allows foreign flagged superyachts to charter in Australian waters. As a result, Australia saw its first charter client in December, with Hollywood actor Will Smith chartering a superyacht out of Cairns. With the passage of these laws it is expected that Australia will see a further 300% increase of visitation over the coming three years.

Queensland saw the highest number of visiting vessels along with the longest duration of stay generating an 87% increase compared to the previous year.

“The Queensland state government has supported the industry through their Superyacht Development Strategy. The state government established a fund that helped Queensland businesses attend overseas events and for shipyards to meet international compliance standards required for this high level of work. This type of government support has certainly paid off in visitation and encouraged significant private investment in the refit and maintenance industry in Queensland, which in turn means substantial jobs for marine trades.” stated David Good CEO of Superyacht Australia.

After Queensland, the highest visitation was seen in NSW, followed by Western Australia and Victoria. Tasmania had the largest size visiting vessel, with a length of 84 metres S/Y Aquijo, who also has the tallest masts of any yacht in the world.  

Superyacht Australia, who has been working in partnership with Tourism Australia, has actively promoted Australia at international events, boat shows, and through their publications and campaigns to showcase the signature experiences that Australia can offer visiting superyachts

As Captain Gerhard Veldman, from S/Y AquiJo commented recently after cruising these waters in early 2019 

“Tasmania was a great surprise!  Both the guests and crew fell in love with its’ isolated beauty. Tasmania is ideal for a two-week cruise as there are so many great and interesting sailing opportunities. The locals were really friendly and helpful plus keen to ensure we had a truly memorable experience. Tasmania is definitely a hidden gem.” 

In addition to the stunning cruising grounds and iconic tourism opportunities offered to guests and crew, Australia offers refit, maintenance facilities and services that rival anything available in Europe and the USA.

“There has been over $150M spent on refit infrastructure in Australia in the past 12 months alone. This is the benefit we provide vessels in the Asia Pacific region; they do not need to venture all the way back to Europe or the East Coast of the USA for world class survey or refit services. The longer a vessel stays in the Pacific, the more the whole region benefits and with the current low incidence of COVID-19 in the region, we will remain a popular destination for these vessels for some time.” reported Good.

In 2021, the Pacific will host both the Americas Cup in Auckland and the Tokyo Olympics. Both these international events are predicted to bring even more superyachts into our region. The high value travellers that this will bring to Australia is significant. Furthermore, with an estimated tripling in visiting foreign flagged vessels visiting our waters, 11,800 jobs will be created for Australians in servicing these vessels.