The 7th Australian Superyacht, Marine Export & Commercial Marine Industry (ASMEX) Conference in Sanctuary Cove has closed with renewed energy in the Australian marine industry.

Day 2 was dominated by the presentation of a recent economic impact study that placed yachting’s contribution to the Australian economy at nearly A$2bn. It was noted, however, that this figure could be much higher with appropriate government regulations for foreign-flagged charter yachts.

“One of the key issues for delegates at the conference was to drive home the barrier they continue to face with the fact foreign-flagged vessels cannot charter in Australia,” said Carl Amor, director of LED lighting specialist Aqualuma. “There is strong unity in the industry moving forward to get the new regulations implemented.”

During the captains’ panel, conference chair Martin Redmayne informed the room that there are only 195 berths in the Mediterranean capable of accommodating yachts of around 60m-plus, yet an order book far exceeding that. The yachts must go somewhere, he said, so why not Australia for superlative cruising and trades?

The room committed to form a group of professionals from Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia to devise a strategic plan for collaborative marketing of the region and work with partners to increase the traffic to all destinations in the South Pacific.

“The economic impact study was fascinating and helpful to our business,” said Peter Staalsmid from Sevenstar Yacht Transport. “I hope the impact of the study and resolutions of the conference results in the changes to Australian charter regulations. This would see an increase in our services to Australia.”

Delegates heard from speakers from the UAE, USA, UK, Holland, New Zealand, Tahiti and Canada plus professionals in insurance, foreign exchange and Australian survey requirements.

The final speaker was Farouk Nefzi from Dutch superyacht builder Feadship, who gave a presentation on the state of the global yachting industry and the future. “In many ways, Australia is very well positioned to capture the growth in the charter, refit and maintenance markets,” he said. “However, it is obvious the current regime regulating international yachts and their ability to charter is limiting not only the potential but the promotion of the destination.

“Feadship would happily promote itineraries and destinations in Australia to our clients if we were confident that the regulatory environment was clear, user-friendly and lived up to the promise the destination could provide.”

Martin Redmayne closed the two-day conference with 14 points which covered collaborative marketing, lobbying strategies, ambassador and education programmes – key selling points for Australia as a destination.