Super boost to local economy
CYCLONE Debbie will not put a dent in the Whitsunday Superyacht season.
From this week, two 50m superyacht vessels will arrive from New Zealand, with a third to come in the following week.
Abell Point Marina general manager Luke McCaul said this would be just a taste of things to come.
“By July we will have the full superyacht arm full, so any superyacht bookings after that we will try to fit into the season,” he said.
The marina currently has the capacity to accommodate more than 60 superyacht berthings for vessels larger than 30 metres.
With a large influx of superyacht vessels expected, Mr McCaul said necessary infrastructure upgrades would be made to ensure a world class experience.
“What we realised last year is that we were about at capacity with our three phase power, most of these superyachts require at least 125 amps of power and now the bigger ones up around 50m require 250 amps,” he said.
“So we put in an application with Ergon and approved a 750kva transformer so, starting next week, we will start feeding all the new electricity arms into the superyacht arm for every boat that comes in.”
While superyacht interest in the Whitsundays remains strong, future developments could see tourism opportunities expand even further with regulations currently under review.
A Whitsunday Plan of Management proposal to ease mooring and anchorage regulations for vessels over 35m is being considered by GBRMPA.
If approved on August 1, the region could see a further 21 superyacht anchorages open, paving the way to greater economic benefits for the region.
“Last year we had so many (superyachts) going to Fiji and New Zealand because they have the ability to freely cruise and anchor where they want,” Mr McCaul said.
“Because we have a lot of restrictions on vessels over 35m we are hoping that, by August, those domestic based vessels will have the ability to stay in Australia and base themselves in the Whitsundays,” he said.
“They are spending between $30,000-40,000 on average per week in the local economy.”
Mr McCaul said superyacht enthusiasts could soak up the beauty of the Whitsunday region en route to upcoming international events, including the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast and the Australian Open Tennis competition in Melbourne.
“I think the island landscape out here is very unique because if you look at a lot of the international destinations, they don’t have an island landscape that is so close,” he said.
“Basing yourself in the Great Barrier Reef gives you so many options, it’s not just snorkelling and diving out here.
“One of the biggest things here is the abundance of fish life.”
SEASON COMING: Two New Zealand superyachts are set to come to the Whitsundays next week.