Boat shows in November and December in the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Antigua will showcase over 100 luxury sailing and motor yachts—and their professional crew members—to brokers who hail from destinations as diverse as the Caribbean, U.S. mainland, Europe and even Asia.
The flavor of these events, as well as the opportunities for work and play, is summed up by Janet Oliver, administrator at the Charter Yacht Society (CYS) of the BVI which will kick off the show season with its 28th Annual BVI Charter Yacht Show on November 5 to 8 at Village Cay Marina in Tortola. “From the fun and fast paced Broker Scrabble Yacht Hop to the relaxing and more glamorous Governor’s Reception, the show provides unique opportunities for the development of relationships. Brokers meet crew. Crew meet crew, and brokers and crew meet with local supporting businesses. It is a rare opportunity for the entire industry to be together in one place at one time. The show finishes with another rare opportunity: allowing brokers to be charter guests for a day; after all, personal experience sells.”
The numbers are up: some 65 to 70 yachts are expected to show in the BVI, says Oliver. “A variety of yachts have registered to date, but we do have an increase in power yachts this year.”
Oliver adds, “We tend to get the newcomers to the crewed yacht industry; whether the yacht has just recently been manufactured or it, and the crew, are simply being introduced for the first time to the industry. Participants include those that operate throughout the Caribbean but are not in the mega-yacht category. In other words, they are luxurious and full service, yet affordable.”
Over 30 yachts were registered for the St. Thomas Fall Yacht Show, formerly the Virgin Islands Charteryacht League (VICL) Annual Fall Show, by the end of July, said VICL executive director, Erik Ackerson. “We’re expecting more megayachts this year.” The show will be held November 10 to 12 at Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas.
In St. Maarten, Lucille Frye, an organizer of the MYBA St. Maarten Charter Show, set for December 4 to 7 at Port de Plaisance, says, “We anticipate an attendance of between 40 to 50 yachts this year. We tend to attract predominantly power vessels ranging in size from 65 to 210 feet, but with the majority of vessels being over 130 feet.”
Frye adds, “We hope that the economic problems will not reduce yacht attendance too significantly. As was seen last year, due to the decline in charters, owners are more prone to want to show their boat with the aim of attracting more bookings. We expect broker attendance, while slightly reduced in numbers, to still reflect a quality representation of all the industry key professionals. Likewise, we anticipate the same quality of media, vendor and sponsor attendance.”
The Antigua Charter Yacht Show will take place from December 7 to 11 at Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbour, the Falmouth Harbour Marina and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina.
Sarah Sebastian, show coordinator, says, “We expect between 80 and 100 yachts as normal. Some are a little late in registering but that’s just because they are busy on charter at the moment. We get everything from a Swan 53 right up to a 270-foot Oceanco vessel and all yachts in between—cats, monohulls, power yachts—you name it, we have it exhibiting, if it’s a properly-qualified charter yacht.” There are many new launches, Sebastian adds, that debut in Antigua.
There’s a new twist to each of these shows this year. In the BVI, Oliver says, “We are attempting to host a ‘green’ event. At this point we are exploring the requirements necessary for certification from a recognized authority.”
A name change is new for the St. Thomas Fall Yacht Show. Ackerson explains, “We’ve been working with Yacht Haven Grande and the Department of Tourism. Our goal is that in the next 10 years, the show will develop into a destination show marketed to a wider audience similar to the Ft. Lauderdale Show.”
There’s been a date change to the MYBA St. Maarten Charter Show. Frye says, “The dates this year have been changed to enable brokers to attend both the St Maarten and the Antigua shows.”
Finally, the show in Antigua will now be five days rather than six, says Sebastian. “This is so agents can be out of their offices for a shorter amount of time and it saves them a day or two on expenses for hotels, etc, as well.” Other new additions to the Antigua show include special seminars about marketing and computer marketing, which are specifically designed to help brokers in light of the current global economic downturn.
FALL CREWED CHARTER SHOW CALENDAR
BVI Charter Yacht Show
Charteryacht Society of the BVI
P.O. Box 3252
Road Town, Tortola