Push for more big boats

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

PORT Dou­glas, Aus­tralia’s sec­ond big­gest su­pery­acht base af­ter Syd­ney, is join­ing with its Cairns su­pery­acht cousins to pro­mote the Far North as an in­ter­na­tional mag­net for the wealthy afloat.

This week Port Dou­glas busi­ness­man John Mor­ris, whose Dream­time is berthed in the ma­rina, joined with the Su­perYachtGroup of Cairns to show­case the re­gion’s at­trac­tions to key in­flu­encers in the in­dus­try. The in­ter­na­tional in­vi­tees were David Fry from Monaco, Ab­dulla La­heed from the Mal­dives, Andy Shorten from Bali, and Deb­ora Radke from Fort Laud­erdale, Florida.

Word of mouth by peo­ple like these – agents and yacht bro­kers – is the main source of in­for­ma­tion for su­pery­acht own­ers de­cid­ing where to base their boats.

“No ves­sel is go­ing to go to just one desti­na­tion, you need to have a group of des­ti­na­tions that are a nice, com­fort­able sail be­tween each other to be at­trac­tive to these own­ers,” ex­plained Ports North’s David Good, who was also part of the in­dus­try famil this week.

He said the group ini­tia­tive to show­case the re­gion was a fan­tas­tic move.

There was an enor­mous, lu­cra­tive mar­ket to be gained by at­tract­ing for­eign-flagged ves­sels whose own­ers were tired of the more es­tab­lished, easy reach des­ti­na­tions such as the Mediter­ranean.

Pol­lu­tion, over­crowd­ing and grow­ing se­cu­rity is­sues meant these own­ers were look­ing fur­ther afield. They just need the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to send a ves­sel such a long way to our shores.

“The own­ers want to be able to go back and talk about some place no one else has ever seen,” Mr Good said.

“They are our tar­get mar­ket – the po­ten­tial is huge.”

Aus­tralia as a whole at­tracts less than 1 per cent of the world’s su­pery­achts. “It’s the tyranny of dis­tance,” Mr Good said. “It is a big chal­lenge. If you put your ves­sel over here you are com­mit­ting it for a year. You can’t just do a fourhour flight to meet up with your ves­sel, you have to fly 15 hours or so.”

The in­com­ing chair­man of Tourism Trop­i­cal North Qld, Wendy Mor­ris, said pro­mo­tion of the su­pery­acht in­dusty in the Far North of­fered com­pre­hen­sive po­ten­tial eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

“Tourism is re­ally a great win­dow for the en­tire re­gion.”

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Mak­ing plans for Port: Su­pery­acht in­dus­try folk on John Mor­ris's Dream­time

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