SUPERYACHTS FLOCK TO WHISUNDAYS
THEY’RE big, they’re beautiful and they’ve arrived in Airlie Beach.
Three superyachts currently sit at Abell Point Marina – the first of many if marina owner Paul Darrouzet has anything to say about it.
“I feel absolutely vindicated in that we’ve always had Airlie Beach seen as the second cousin to Hamilton Island,” he said of having the first superyachts arrive last week. “But no longer.” There are still a number of restrictions to overcome for Airlie to become a true superyacht destination, but Mr Darrouzet is confident of a positive outcome.
“What we’re going to undertake is a root and branch review of the entire Whitsunday Plan of Management,” he said.
“It was last done in 1996-7, took 10 years to do and has now got major issues in relation to latent permits sitting out there.
“That needs to be addressed, and so does the science behind some of the settings and how they work.”
In the meantime, the marina is forging ahead, marketing the port to “all the superyacht conferences around the world”. Mr Darrouzet said the superyachts were a huge benefit to the local economy.
“This is the sort of economic opportunity that is available to Airlie Beach,” he said. “These people spend $60-70,000 a week per boat.
“The staff are all involved in the restaurants and cafes and all of our marine contractors, whether it be painters or cabinet makers, engineers, and so on, they’ve all got work from it.”
NEW ARRIVALS: The superyachts Pursuit, Legacy and Gran Finale are new arrivals to Airlie Beach.