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Superyachts could provide a boost for local businesses after cyclone

by Emily Simpson on 18 Apr
APM Aerial - Queensland Abell Point Marina
Australia’s first economic study on superyachts has revealed how the industry benefits local business in Queensland, more than anywhere else in Australia.

The AEC Group study found that, out of all states and regions in Australia, Southeast Queensland saw the most economic benefits from superyachts in 2016, with the industry contributing $630.2 million in gross state product (GSP), followed by Cairns and the Whitsundays with $374 million in gross state product (GSP). The study was commissioned by AIMEX and supported by the Queensland government to gain a clear understanding of the superyacht industry's current and potential economic contribution.

It found Australia’s superyacht industry contributed a total of $1.97 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2016 financial year.

However, it also found the local superyacht industry is held back by restrictive policy - if relaxed, the industry could contribute an additional $404 million to Southeast Queensland’s GSP in 2021, for a total of $1.1 billion. Cairns and the Whitsundays could receive a $203.7 million boost to GSP, for a total of $577.7 million.

“This study reveals the significant economic potential of the superyacht industry in Queensland - it could be a valuable boost for local coastal businesses after the cyclone Debbie,” said MaryAnne Edwards, AIMEX Chief Executive. “We are seeking standalone legislation to relax regulations in the superyacht sector.”

“If the government fixes our legislation, so foreign superyachts have freedom to charter here, like they do in New Zealand, our local superyacht industry would grow substantially - we could see an extra 2,769 jobs in Southeast Queensland, and 1,476 extra jobs in Cairns and the Whitsundays,” said Ms Edwards.

Currently, very few international superyachts come to Australia because the current legislation makes charting in our waters unviable - a superyacht must be fully imported and 10% GST on its value paid.

“After the devastation of Cyclone Debbie, a change is legislation is more important than ever to allow superyachts to cruise in Whitsunday region, to help local businesses and families get back on their feet.” said Ms Edwards.

Businesses in the Whitsundays want the Australian government to enable the local superyacht industry to grow.

“We desperately need the superyachts back this year - to boost our morale after the cyclone, give us jobs, spend some money and get tourists back to the town,” said Janal Casey, owner of Whitsundays florist Flower Hut.

“The superyachts spend up to $5000 with us in one hit - that’s just flowers, let alone meat and other produce - and we’re just a tiny shop that deals with them,” said Janal.

“It’s a huge business all around the world and it could be here too - the Whitsundays is just as nice as Monaco or Greece, where you’ll be trying up 30 to 40 superyachts in the major ports,” said Don Cameron, owner of Master Butchers.

“When the superyachts are restocking for a five or six week cruise, they spend anything from $5000 or $6000, right up to $18,000 on really good quality produce from our store.”

The study revealed for the first time the hidden economic benefits superyachts provide to the Australian economy, including:

- Local jobs - the industry supported around 14,500 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, paying $1.2 billion in wages and salaries in 2016.
- Tourism - foreign tourist, guest and crew expenditure provides near $190 million annually for the local tourism market.
- Luxury shopping sprees - foreign guests on superyachts spend an estimated $15,000 to $25,000 per day on land in Australia, in the days before and after their cruise. This includes an average $7,500 for luxury goods and services, such as jewellery, clothes, food and drinks.
- Maintenance and construction of superyachts - contributed $400 million in gross product in 2016.
- Transport and warehousing of superyachts - $77 million in gross product in 2016.
- Accommodation and food for superyachts - $50 million in gross product in 2016.
- Professional services supporting superyachts - $44 million in gross product in 2016.
- Local retail trade benefiting from superyachts - $42 million in gross product in 2016.
Lancer Inflatables - BJNorth Technology - Southern SparsAbsolute Marine

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