APSA LOOKING TO TAKE STRONGER ROLE IN PROMOTING ASIA – Interview with Nigel Beatty

The Asia Pacific Superyacht Association (APSA) officially established in 2011 reaches its 10 year mark this year.  APSA was the first association to be established in Asia with a regional focus on promoting Asian yachting businesses and providing a platform for global businesses to connect with the Asia yachting community. A decade on and APSA is in a positive position to promote the region.

With a current total of 110 members, it would appear APSA’s value is now being seen across the Asian region.  There is no doubt that with the development of the regional boating associations in Asia and the growth and interest in Superyachts in the Asia-Pacific region industry stakeholders are looking to APSA to play a more active role in the region.  It is clear APSA is taking on the challenge with a stronger online presence and the employment of Suzy Rayment an experienced journalist and long-term player in the Asian market.

Maryanne Edwards, from Global Marine Business Advisors (GMBA) interviewed Nigel Beatty discussing where APSA is heading, the current situation in Asia and the issues facing the industry.

M Edwards also recently talked with David Good AIMEX and Peter Busfield Marine NZ looking at the focus of their associations and the issues they are facing.

https://www.gmba.blue/two-trade-associations-delivering-value-to-members-during-the-current-pandemic-part-1/


What do you believe to be the global perception of Asia since the global pandemic?

Nigel response; “The pandemic is ongoing, and I think (from a yachting perspective) the perception towards Asia has changed for the better. It is overall a safer place during COVID 19 than Europe or the Americas. Many brokers are busy and although inter regional transit on most yachts is down, large numbers of yacht owners are using their yachts domestically. Asia is still rising. As well as regionally based yachts there are more than ever European and America based yachts and owners still planning to head to Asia to cruise the circuit here.


Superyacht Australia and NZ Marine were successful in lobbying their governments to provide exemptions for vessels looking for a safe haven during Covid 19. What has been the situation in Asia for visiting superyachts since the pandemic?
Nigel response; “Asia is made up of a number of countries and as such APSA does not lobby individual countries. APSA as a regional association will support any national associations in Asia in their efforts to work with their governments. I can only speak nationally about Japan where I am based and there are no restrictions on yachts entering Japan apart from 14 days quarantine for crew/guests when the yacht arrived. Certain nationality crew can get 90 days stay on arrival extendable, while others get 28 days. The yacht itself can stay if the owner wants it to. I also see reports from Thailand and Indonesia that yachts are arriving and members are working with their local governments to assist these vessels to enter these countries during this time”


Has boating become more popular in Asia since the pandemic or have restrictions caused a decline in boating sales?
Nigel response; “Yacht sales are reported to be up across Asia. Part of this is that we are seeing more yacht ownership year on year anyway, but the pandemic has caused an upwards surge in yacht ownership and people using their boats”.


What has been the govt support for marine industry businesses in Asia. How are your members surviving?
Nigel response; “There are many governments in Asia and things vary with each country so I cannot comment on governmental stimulus and support. While some members of our industry are seeing a decline in business, there is a good proportion of companies seeing expanded business. Take yacht agents for example. While some have seen a decrease in international business, they have also seen an opportunity with the up surge in domestic business and support for yacht owners. Many large yacht owners are still operating and maintaining their yachts, so shore side services are getting some business.”


What is your view re the cancellation of boat shows?
Nigel response; “It was and is right to cancel shows. I look at the decision to go ahead with the Fort Lauderdale Show and I see what a super spreader event that was. Many of my friends and colleagues became Covid 19 positive due to that event. I think the right decision has been taken by the organizers of most of the yacht shows, and the smart ones took early and decisive decisions to spare the participants from wasting their money. The shows will come back. I have “attended” some of the virtual shows out of curiosity and they are not worth it in my opinion. There is nothing like a “tangible” yacht show in our industry and I am sure by the end of 2021 we will be back in full swing attending these shows.

The online forums on the other hand have been good and I think this is a very good way that we can bring the industry together from all over the world in a conference forum or webinar. APSA has its own series of webinars in January coming up called the APSA Grand Tour and will follow the cruising circuit destinations of Asia and Australia/NZ over a three-episode series. We will expand this to include other countries in the near future.”


In the past big events like the Americas Cup have been great for the region how do you feel it will impact the region given so many restrictions apply to crossing borders/quarantine etc
Nigel response; “It is important just like other sporting events in Asia; Winter Olympics Korea, Rugby World Cup Japan, Olympic Games Japan; these are three of the top nine global sporting events, so they are huge for attracting yachts to the region. The Americas Cup is not so big as far as television audience and worldwide interest, but it is more closely aligned to our industry so arguably has just as much impact. It will be sad that because of the pandemic less yachts will make the long journey to NZ to attend. The restrictions however are in place for good reason, but it is going to impact the Americas Cup and the Olympic Games as far as our industry is concerned. I should imagine that the understandably difficult regulations on visitors to NZ will prevent many yachts from visiting there. For the Olympics I think the uncertainty of whether the games will even happen, is a massive decider if a yacht will come to Japan, rather than any restrictions.


What events has APSA got in the pipeline for members?
Nigel response; “As touched on before we have the APSA Grand Tour webinar coming up which is our 10th anniversary event online. We will follow a superyacht cruising the Asian circuit from NZ to Australia to PNG, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

While I am rather disdainful of virtual boat shows, I really think with the technology now available and improving all the time, webinars and virtual conferences are a very cool jump forward this year. Once boat shows start again, we will recommence our active, popular networking programme.


How has APSA fared regarding membership since COVID?
Nigel response; “We have been ok and on balance we have remained at the membership strength that we were at before the pandemic and also have new members joining. Our members have been incredibly loyal to APSA and as an association we are reaching out to our members to try to make sure they use their Association to get the exposure they need to reach the growing superyacht community in the region and the world. Whether our members are big shipyards, brokerage houses, yacht builders or small to medium sized local businesses, they are all an integral part of the Asian superyacht community, each depending on each other to service the superyacht community and grow the industry. APSA has a clear vision for the future of the industry in Asia and this is enshrined in the articles of the Association.


What are the key issues for superyacht businesses in ASIA moving forward?
Nigel response; “Mainly keeping the upward momentum of the yacht industry in Asia. There are regulatory issues that national organisations are combating, i.e. cruising permits, helicopter operations, charter laws, etc. these are gradually being overcome and APSA members are usually right in the thick of working with their governments to bring in new or amend existing legislation to allow our industry to flourish more.


What do you see as the key role for your association moving forward?
Nigel response; The key role for APSA is to bring as much business as we can to our members. We will always put our members first and try to promote their business and push business their way. We are contacted by people from around the world that need to get in touch with various sectors of the Asian industry and these enquiries go directly to our members. This business support is also augmented with promotion of the region which we do by social media and publication of the APSA guide detailing as many services around Asia and Pacific as we know about. We also promote the region by events and attending yacht shows around the world.

As a regional association we can put weight behind any initiative that members are working on plus we are happy to support national associations in their lobbying if we can. We are doing this though our connections to the regional associations in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan and the list is growing as the industry expands and matures in the region.


SUMMARY
APSA certainly is lifting its profile.  APSA member and AIMEX board member Steve Fisher Rivergate Marina & Shipyard confirms the future role of APSA. “Rivergate is a firm believer in the adage that “… together we achieve more!”, so providing organisations like APSA remain active, I think they can help promote Superyacht Cruising in the Southern Hemisphere and the Pacific. Uniform Cruising regulations and a united approach to marketing could help build the Asia Pacific region as the world’s preeminent Superyacht Cruising Grounds – ambitious, but definitely a worthwhile goal.

David Good, CEO AIMEX, also confirmed the need for organisations like APSA.  “In my view APSA has the potential to be a positive influence in Asia considering the growth predictions for the region. WA and NT have closer ties with Asia than the East Coast of Australia so is important we are connected to Asia. It’s easy to work with this region due to time zones and we all have the same desire to get the vessels out of their traditional milk run either side of the Atlantic and through one of the canals into our part of the world, or even better, base vessels here permanently.”

Professional publications like the Great Southern Route now in its 4th edition have gone a long way to supporting Asia Pacific as a key cruising destination.  Captains have a thirst for information and publications like GSR and online conferences like the APSA Grand Tour will certainly be viewed positively by stakeholders in the superyacht industry. https://greatsouthernroute.partica.online/great-southern-route/4th-edition-20192020/flipbook