Published: Thursday, 14 November 2013
Ryan Swift

Broad opinions on the need for better superyacht facilities and procedures in Hong Kong was one of the dominant themes of the first-ever Asia Pacific Superyacht Association (APSA) members’ forum, held from November 11 to 14, in Hong Kong. Concerns were largely centered around the lack of berthing facilities and superyacht facilities in Hong Kong.

Another major topic of discussion was that of superyacht ownership, and the particular issues that Asia-based owners may face. To this end, APSA has pledged to release a Paper on Superyacht Ownership that will offer unbiased advice to owners and potential buyers of superyachts. The aim is to provide the confidence that prospective owners require to purchase with confidence.

During a final forum that closed the deliberations, it was noted that two Hong Kong shipyards are considering to set aside dedicated areas for superyacht maintenance and refit. The Hong Kong Shipyard already does a lot of work on local superyachts, and are apparently keen for that business to grow. Should Hong Kong emerge as a major centre for visiting superyachts to berth and get serious refit work done, it would potentially open up more areas of Southeast Asia and Greater China to superyacht tourism, which contributes millions of dollars to local economies.

One distressing piece of news concerned the apparent lack of superyacht cruising permits being issued to visiting superyachts to Hong Kong by the Marine Department. These permits had been easily granted before, but this has reportedly been stopped with no explanation. So far, no dedicated voice has arisen in Hong Kong to address the interests of the leisure marine sector, which the participants noted, could be a large industry and employer in the Special Administrative Region. In Singapore, a local superyacht association has been developed, though it was pointed out that initial government support for the project has since decreased.  

In addition to the topics that members reviewed, the APSA forum also served as the basis for a discussion concerning the future direction of the organisation. Started two years ago and now having 62 members that encompass the range of activity in the superyacht sector, APSA will focus on promoting the region as a destination for superyachts, while trying to work with local superyacht organisations to achieve their goals.