Charter firms with foreign-flagged vessels will be allowed to operate in Turkey this season after all – but at a cost

The ban on foreign-flagged yachts operating as charter vessels in Turkey this season has been overturned, thanks to the efforts of local yacht associations and charter firms. But while negotiations with officials at the Ministry of Tourism have been successful, disappointingly high rates have been imposed.

The Turkish Tourism Ministry said on Friday that foreign-flagged yachts will be allowed to operate in Turkey during the 2019 summer season, and is urging charter firms not to abandon clients with early bookings. However, the Ministry’s new rates for the operation of foreign-flagged boats are now 10 times higher than last year.

Charter companies claim that the high rates are forcing them to cancel bookings or pay the rates themselves so as not to upset clients. The deadline is also too close to the upcoming season, and many charter companies feel constrained to pay. Application and payments need to be made by 19 April 2019.

Several charter firms have already started to cancel their bookings, stating that they simply can’t afford the rates. Rates are particularly high for bareboat companies. Their main complaint is that the difference between bareboat charter and gulet or large motorboat charter is not understood by industry leaders, and that the rates are not always fair.

Some foreign yacht owners who keep their yachts in Turkey and rent them as bareboats are said to be considering giving this up.