Letter from Russia | (with love) | Dr Anna Shumeiko, Ph.D, GMBA Russia

In Russia, there is a popular saying: “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

After the most severe restrictions in the summer of 2020, in the fall of 2020 and early 2021, the pandemic stimulated demand in the yacht and boat market. According to comments by the leading dealers of foreign motor and sailing yachts in Russia, the entire industry feels a powerful upswing. According to various estimates, demand increased by 20-40%. We are not talking about megayachts but rather about more modest vessels, including ones designed for inland waters.

There have been a few cases of supply chain delays in the entry level yacht segment. This increases the demand even more. Additionally, people realized that a boat is a way to stay in isolation and at the same time have a fairly high level of quality of life.

Local pleasure boat manufacturers also won, having received unprecedented deferred demand. Since they are less tied to international supplies, they managed to sharply increase production and sell off stocks. The inflatable vessels and aluminum boat market segments are completely covered by local manufacturers. Russian manufacturers are also beginning to actively seek international markets for their products. Products of a high quality, tested on local consumers, coupled with low prices, due to the exchange rate of the Russian ruble, give certain competitive advantages.

With the restrictions on international tourism, there has been significant development of the local yachting lifestyle. As Russians began to plan holidays within the country, the domestic economy began to enjoy the fruits of the vast charter market. According to various sources, in previous years more than 200,000 Russians a year enjoyed foreign yacht charter holidays. There is now also more demand for charter in countries that have open borders, in line with Covid-19 regulations, such as Montenegro, Greece, and Turkey.

Russians have started to rediscover domestic yachting! Already during the winter months, all charter tours on yachts on the Black Sea coast were sold out. Squadron sailings are being announced and implemented, with tourists, along inland waterways from St. Petersburg to the White Sea in the Arctic region, along the Volga from Moscow to the Caspian and Black Seas, and more and more special routes are being organized on Lake Baikal, in Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

As the inland waters came alive, it became clear how much the state of the infrastructure lags behind the demand… There are no marinas, no fuel refueling stations, and no technical service facilities for boats. The regional and federal authorities were caught off guard by the infrastructure issue. The yacht industry has not yet seen such attention from the state in the modern history of Russia. Regional programs for the development of yacht and water tourism have been announced and are being implemented. Major projects for the construction of marinas, such as Balaklava Marina in the Crimea, Gelendzhik Marina on the Black Sea, the Island of Forts Marina in St. Petersburg, and other projects are in the process of implementation. In most major projects related to the creation of port facilities, there is direct or indirect participation and funding from the state. In the wake of the state, private developers have become more active, following the growing demand for boat berths.

Sailing schools and local charter companies received an additional incentive. There is a boom in various online services for booking local holidays on yachts and boats.

Yacht exhibitions are always a barometer of the “yacht market temperature”. Today’s boat show format has undergone a transformation – exhibitions are increasingly going out on the street, on the water, as well as on-line.

Upcoming Boat Shows:

  • 14-16 of May — Samara Boat Show
  • 21-23 of May — Vladivostok Boat Show
  • 21-23 of May – «Water World» fair in Moscow
  • 28-30 of May — Moscow Boat Show

We often say Summer is a small life! A very fair statement for countries with a temperate climate. I am sure that Russia will have a very intense summer life, despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

Dr Anna Shumeiko, Ph.D, GMBA-Russia
Mobile: +7 921 944 18 09
Email: anna.shumeiko@gmba.blue

Disclaimer: Global Marine Business Advisors and its associated website www.gmba.blue are not registered legal entities. GMBA is a network of independent marine industry advisors. In all articles the opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of GMBA