The working group initiative, which sees the industry association partner with government bodies to jointly promote New Zealand as a destination for superyachts, was announced by New Zealand Marine on Thursday 27 March.
"Attracting more superyachts to visit New Zealand's shores is an excellent way to drive high-end tourism. Targeting these high net worth individuals to come and experience our unique and diverse range of luxury products, experiences and culture is a core part of Tourism New Zealand's marketing strategy to grow their arrivals and spend while in New Zealand," says Justin Watson, Director of Trade, PR and Major Events for Tourism New Zealand.
With some of the parties having individually worked to develop New Zealand as a superyacht destination over the years, it became apparent that a collaborative approach would reap the best results, with each organisation offering their different areas of expertise.
Creating awareness around the logistics and benefits of coming to New Zealand will be the core goal for the group, supported by presence at key international boat shows and regular interactions with industry media and influencers.
To achieve these goals the group will work to promote all the elements that make New Zealand such a desirable superyacht destination, including world class refit and marina facilities, cosmopolitan bases for crew and more than 15,000km of unspoilt coastline. Focus will be on three key areas: promoting New Zealand as a cruising destination for private and charter yachts; promoting the expanding infrastructure and facilities within NZ and overseas; and promoting the capabilities of the refit, repair and manufacturing sectors.
"The NZ Marine Industry welcomes the support of Tourism New Zealand, ATEED and NZTE and other regions such as Far North Holdings and Whitianga, in promoting New Zealand as a destination for visiting yachts. This is a unique opportunity for New Zealand to increase its foreign exchange earnings through this export market which literally floats to our shores," says Peter Busfield, Executive NZ Marine Industry Association.
Support for visiting superyachts and cruising yachts is well-founded. In 2013, it is estimated that superyachts brought $185 million dollars of marine industry spend and $95 million dollars of tourism spend to the country.
The goal now is to increase marine industry spend to $352 million and tourism spend to $190 million by 2018. In 2013, 35 superyachts visited the country and the group is seeking to double these numbers by 2018, and increase numbers of cruising yachts from 625 in 2013, to 750 in 2018.
"Auckland is the hub of superyacht activity in New Zealand and where the majority of the economic benefit lands, not only for the marine sector but also for Auckland's tourism industry. The group's goal aligns with the key goal of the Auckland Visitor Plan - to target high value visitors and grow the value of Auckland's visitor economy from $3.3 billion to $6 billion annually by 2021," says Jason Hill, Manager Tourism for ATEED.
New Zealand has a unique attraction for visiting superyachts (over 24-metres) and cruising yachts; the country's coastline has more diversity in the space of shorter distances than almost anywhere else. Already well-established as a Pacific hub for superyachts with a penchant for adventure, New Zealand has also become a sought-after destination for yachts requiring refit and repair. Yacht transport providers have made the nation easier to access than ever, and local industry has developed its workforce, and technological innovation of its products in refitting superyachts. Add to that a local industry with enormous global reach and a reputation for innovation and quality, and there is an obvious recipe for success that the Destination New Zealand Superyacht Attraction Initiative will work to further grow.
Recent developments such as the extension of the Temporary Import Entry from 12 months to 24 months are important steps towards increase the attraction of visiting New Zealand for yachts. Continued investment and growth of existing facilities, together with exit surveys to better understand the long terms needs of visiting yachts, will all help to evolve New Zealand even further as a world-class superyacht destination.