The Emerging Yachting Industry in Asia, A Golden Opportunity for Hong Kong ( 2013/10/16 )
|Sailing and yacht cruising has long been a popular activity amongst Western countries. Development of yachting in Europe and America points to two benchmarks: The yachting market starts to develop when the per capita GDP of an area reaches US$3,000 and accelerates rapidly when the per capita GDP reaches US$5,000, supported by increase in supply of yachting berths and related services. If we consider the Asia Pacific region as a whole, the regional economy has been growing steadily in recent years. In China, the per capita GDP of the core coastal areas including Pearl River Delta region, Yangtze River Delta region and Bohai Rim region has already reached US$8,000, meaning that the yachting market is ready to take off. Therefore, it is natural that yachting will be the new vogue in the region.
Yacht gives the owners unprecedented freedom in pursuing their unique lifestyle. Typically, a yacht owner will choose the cruise area best fits his interest, be it fishing, diving, or exploration of local natural environment or cultural heritage. It is normal for yacht owners to visit a number of destinations during the cruise, but yachts can also stay in a region for several seasons because of the time and resources required to go from region to region (For example, from Mediterranean to Asia Pacific). When a yacht comes to stay in a region, it is usual for it to find a “home port” where it can be serviced and supported. Choices are provided by the Captain of the yacht based on standard of the facilities such as local support and regulations. The home port should be well served by international transportation network because yacht owners usually fly in to join the yacht for cruising.
This growing tourism model driven by ocean going yacht will bring huge economic benefit to Asian coastal cities. Yacht owners possess tremendous purchasing power and can be potential investors apart from spending in various vacation activities. Not only that, but the yacht owners in general spend an equivalent of about 10% of the cost of the yacht on annual maintenance and supplies each year. Taking a typical HK$100 million worth 30-meter yacht for example, its annual expenses can reach up to around HK$10 million, in which a significant portion will generate direct benefit to the local economy.
Hong Kong cannot afford to lose its share in the Asia Pacific yachting market. We must address the shortage not only for berthing but also the infrastructure in general. With well-established transport network, law and order, world class financial institutions and experienced professionals, and through long history of sailing and yachting as well as maritime tradition, Hong Kong is well-placed to become a leading hub for yachting activities and chartering in the Asia Pacific region.
Our next blog entry is going to introduce how the yachting industry will provide job opportunities to Hong Kong. Please stay tuned!