The debut Superyacht Rendezvous took place on the Gold Coast from Friday, May 19 to Saturday, May 20. The event showcased the yachting, aviation, and tourism industries working together to prove that the Asia-Pacific is the new hub for luxury tourism and superyacht cruising.

Gold Coast City Mario CEO and event organiser Trenton Gay said it was encouraging to see so many companies from a range of sectors converging for the Superyacht Rendezvous

“We are proud to be hosting some of the finest superyachts in Australia and are delighted to have international guests and sponsors, including yacht charter companies, jetting in from Indonesia and Thailand because they are keen to work together collaboratively,” he said.

Traditional hot spots such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean have become overcrowded and less pristine, meaning that the spotlight is shining on Australia as a burgeoning attractive destination.

“The Mediterranean and the Americas are well established as superyacht hotspots but the Asia-Pacific region is gaining momentum at a rapid rate

and we need to work together to entice and welcome more vessels to this part of the world,” he said.

Part of the event’s purpose was to demonstrate the economic benefits of allowing more superyachts into Australia. To demonstrate, the luxurious 40 metre Sahana was at the Gold Coast for the Superyacht Rendezvous. It had its multi-million dollar fit-out at the marina with charters available for $100,000 a week.

A recent Superyacht Australia report showed that if the federal government relaxed red tape allowing foreign vessels to charter, along with waterway dredging on the Coast, it would result in a $1 billion boost to GDP and thousands more jobs. Currently, foreign owners wanting to run charters in Australia must pay a hefty GST bond of 10 per cent of the vessel value.

At the launch of the Superyacht Rendezvous at Gold Coast City Marina, Gold Coast MP Stuart Robert said that removing the floating palaces from the Act would quadruple the 65 superyacht visits Australia receives annually.

“Only 1.5 per cent of superyachts in the world [currently] visit Australia. It’s not good enough,” he said. “There is a dog of a piece of legislation called the Coastal Shipping Act. It is the one reason why superyachts don’t come here to charter.”

Robert hopes that by the 2018 Commonwealth Games, these restrictions will have changed, allowing Australia to claim its reputation as a superyacht hot spot.

Australia currently receives one per cent of the world’s superyachts per year, and industry leaders say that boosting it to three to five per cent will reap a substantial economic benefit.

The rendezvous was an exciting new lead up party ahead of the 2017 Australian Superyacht, Marine Export and Commercial Marine Conference at Sanctuary Cove, and the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, which will take place between May 22 and May 24.

Read more about the Superyacht Rendezvous here.