Yacht entry will 'boost tourism'

Yacht entry will 'boost tourism'

The Marine Department plans to relax its maritime regulations to pave the way for the entry of superyachts into the country.

The department's plan is part of a bid to boost trade and tourism, department director-general Chula Sukmanop said.

Chula: Will relax regulations

Phuket Tourism Association vice-president Sarayut Mallum said he agreed with the department's plan to amend regulations on superyachts as they could face various legal issues related to migration, carrier inspection, revenue and tax.

Speaking after a meeting with Thai yacht operators, Mr Chula said regulations on granting licences and the entry of luxury yachts into Thai waters will be put into effect in December.   

Regulatory changes were raised after owners in the private sector wanted to debut their superyachts at an international yacht fair organised in Phuket in December.

Mr Chula said five superyachts more than 100 metres long will be featured at the fair. Their proprietors asked permission from Thai authorities to allow their luxury vessels to enter Thai waters for a year.

"After gauging opinions in the meeting, most participants agreed with amendments to allow superyachts into the country as they can attract high-spending foreign visitors resulting in an increase in revenue for the tourism industry," he said.

Mr Chula said this group of tourists would likely stay overnight on board the vessels instead of checking into hotels on the mainland.

Thai water rental fees for charter yachts could rage from one million baht to more than three million baht a week depending on the size of the yacht.

Lessees also have to pay for crew wages and food supplies as well.

Yacht operators will have to guarantee a deposit of 500,000 baht or 1-2 million baht subject to the vessel's size, he said.

Aside from regulatory change, Mr Chula said more marinas in the country will be developed as well.

Eleven marinas are located in Phuket, Krabi, Trat, Chon Buri and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces.

However, Thailand has the potential to increase its number of marinas to 33 − 11 in the Andaman Sea and 22 in the Gulf of Thailand, according to the department's feasibility study.

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