Push for more big boats
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.”
Making plans for Port: Superyacht industry folk on John Morris's Dreamtime