In the last month, The Kimberley in north western Australia has garnered significant interest from the global yachting community reinforcing what local players have always known; it is undervalued as a charter destination.
After receiving the Voyager Award at the World Superyacht Awards in Florence, The Kimberley is again front and centre as 42-metre M/Y ANDA took pole position in the Best 21 charter yachts available in remote areas.
The Kimberley is over 400,000sqm, larger than England, and includes a series of limestone and sandstone canyons which are navigable by yachts. From a yachting perspective, it is defined by its incredible water courses, pristine environment, horizontal falls from huge tidal movements, unique flora and fauna, access to Aboriginal culture and art plus privacy as it is a destination which requires local knowledge to reach and cruise properly.
“We are humbled by the recognition,” explained Mr. Joachim (Jo) Howard, Managing Director of Ocean Alliance who is the central agent for M/Y ANDA and M/Y AKIKO who took out third place for other charter destinations in Western Australia. “We have just conducted, in conjunction with Tourism Australia, a familiarisation for guests, brokers and press to highlight the potential of The Kimberley and Australia as a charter destination to their international clients. As a result, it seems the region is receiving the recognition it deserves.”
"It was truly awe-inspiring. I have been on many yachts in many locations around the world, and organised multiple charter experiences for my clients but I confidently say, I have never done anything like this before. ANDA is a great platform for exploring this wild and often inaccessible archipelago…” said Nick Heming from London-based yacht brokerage house, Y.CO.
The focus on The Kimberley and Australia has also coincided with the Australian Superyacht and Marine Exporters (ASMEX) Conference held 22-24 May 2017 on the Gold Coast at which the results of an economic impact study were tabled. “The report highlighted the exponential growth, an additional AUD$1.37 billion contribution to GDP and 10,000 jobs in five years, the industry would experience if the regulations allowing foreign yachts to charter were revised,” advised Ms MaryAnne Edwards, CEO of Superyacht Australia.
Regional areas, such as The Kimberley, will be beneficiaries of the changes to the international yachts charter regulations by receiving the lion’s share of tourism dollars spent. It was estimated by the report this was AUD$7,500 per person per day from a yacht charter guest. This is significantly more than the AUD$4,361 per person per trip that Tourism Research Australia estimates the average international traveller spends whilst in Australia.
Joachim Howard sits on the working committee who are lobbying the government to change the regulations and he, along with the other committee members, were awarded for their efforts at the gala dinner during the conference.
“My fellow committee members and I were encouraged to receive the award for our efforts but there is more work to be done in educating the various government representatives on the potential which is currently unrealised. We will continue our work until our governments see what our international media partners are acknowledging,” stated Mr Howard.