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November December 2018 Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


GLOBAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEWS YP Loke The Suntex Marina Investors portfolio, a constantly expanding US-based marina chain, purchased 600-slip Hurricane Marina in Silver Point, Tennessee earlier this year. marina business itself did not suffer as much and fell about 20% all over the continent and islands (Azores and Madeira). During the last two years we have seen incredible growth in the market, along with a boom in the country’s economy, mainly due to high performance in tourism and the property market. Marina occupancy levels are back to the record year of 2008 but this has only been possible as most customers come from outside Portugal. UK, German and Dutch boaters are pushing the Portuguese marinas back to high occupancy. All over the country there has been a phenomenal growth in what is called ‘maritime-touristic activity’, which is basically the charter business of skippered daily trips. The beautiful coastal areas, natural sanctuaries and river estuaries are a must-see for tourists. This new market is now responsible for more than 10% of occupancy at most marinas in the country. At some locations it rises to 15-20% and marinas are already restricting the number of boats authorised for day trip activity. The outlook of the Portuguese market is now very positive but needs some ‘grow boating’ initiatives in order to bring the Portuguese back onto the ocean. Martinho Fortunato CMM SOUTH EAST ASIA The boating scene in South East Asia is relatively young. The first walk-on walk-off pontoon style marina, Raffles Marina in Singapore, opened for business barely 25 years ago. Today, there is a network of over 50 marinas strewn across Southeast Asia. It has not all been smooth sailing. The Asia Financial Crisis (1997) and SARS epidemic (2003), two catastrophic upheavals, rocked the industry. The damage from the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), although costly in terms of lives lost, was more muted where infrastructure was concerned and felt mainly in the islands of Langkawi and Phuket. In spite of these setbacks, marinas and boating have flourished on the back of relatively strong economic growth in the region. But in common with most developing markets, the growth of the boating population has lagged behind berth supply and consequently the fortunes of marina developers have been mixed. The bright spots have always been Singapore and Phuket. Singapore because of its concentration of wealth, connectivity, infrastructure and security, and Phuket because of its cruising hinterland, laid back ambience and renowned Thai hospitality. The Gulf of Thailand on the eastern seaboard is a rising star. Ocean Marina close to Pattaya was the only marina for many years, but now several planned marina developments are in the offing. But the biggest rising star – a supernova in the making – is Indonesia. This archipelagic nation of 17,000+ islands was difficult to access until a policy change instituted by the Jokowi Government that came into power in 2014. The so-called tilt towards a maritime axis focused national development on the maritime sector, of which recreational yachting is part. Legislation has been passed easing visa requirements and waiving the requirement for sailing permits or financial bonds. Boat taxation remains high and few Indonesians own boats. Whether yachting tourism alone can sustain marina development remains to be seen but several marina developments have been announced, mostly on the back of resorts and other real estate development. Although implementation of policy in a vast country like Indonesia will take time, it is a game changer not just for Indonesia but the region. Its awakening makes the region whole, and opens up the possibility to market the region as a single cruising destination (in the same way that the Mediterranean and Caribbean are single destinations). Malaysia has come through a political upheaval with Tun Mahathir upsetting the status quo with a return to power. Under his watch in the previous premiership, many marinas were developed (not all successful). Whether nautical tourism will feature in the new government’s economic agenda is left to be seen. In recent years a number of private marinas have been built close to the Singapore border, catering to the overspill from the city state. The Philippines has not been on the boating radar in spite of its appealing archipelagic geography (it has 7,000+ islands). Boat taxation remains high. As 38 - November/December 2018

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