Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Rory Sheav­ils

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.

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