A steep superyacht traffic increase for the F1 weekend brings new superyachts to Singapore and helps SSA reaching its yearly traffic objectives.
An exciting season of top-notch lifestyle experiences complemented the historic 2008 Formula One™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, giving superyacht owners more reasons to come to Singapore for the season, from end-September all the way to December for the much anticipated Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 Singapore Stopover, the first and only South East Asian stopover leg.
Held over three weekends from 20 September to 5 October, the Singapore GP Season was anchored by more than 10 lifestyle events and premium experiences that include the Singapore River Festival, Opera Gallery’s Master’s Formula – The Artistic Drive, Amber Lounge and The Bulgari Watch Exhibition amongst many others. A key highlight of the Singapore GP Season was the inaugural Singapore River Festival, a week long celebration that focuses on three key elements: water, heritage and entertainment.
Thanks to an eventful F1 Grand Prix itself, clement weather conditions and great excitement around the circuit, the Singapore Grand Prix made history. In the midst of it all, superyacht traffic to Singapore witnessed a very steep increase directly linked to the Singapore Grand Prix. Jean-Jacques Lavigne, SSA’s Executive Director, explains: “we estimate that 14 superyachts made a specific effort, in varying degrees, to be in Singapore for that very F1-weekend. This is well above our initial expectations of 6 or 7. From the SSA perspective, this was a real success for the industry. From a marina stand-point,” he pursues, “20 superyachts were berthed at the same time, pushing superyacht berth occupancy to a historical high of 69% (for 29 superyacht berths).This is really something to rejoice over.”
Hence, according to official statistics from SSA, from January 1st to October 10th, total superyacht traffic (unique visits) was 41 vessels, against 27 superyachts in 2007, putting Singapore yearly traffic well line to reach SSA’s objective of 50 superyachts for the year. To date, these superyachts represent 6,035 of total footage, versus 4,302 in 2007 (2,250 in 2006). Overall growth is attributable to traffic growth in Phuket (winter season) and very notably to the F1 GP that was a very significant pull.
However, it is clear that the season won’t stop here as Singapore also hosts in December its first ever leg of Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s most challenging elite offshore sailing race, organised and promoted by ONE15 Singapore Ocean Race.
In that exceptional context, the Superyacht Singapore Association and Singapore’s marinas are pursuing their marketing operation and will be maintaining their berthing rates freeze until the end of the Volvo Ocean Race event. not to increase their berthing fees for the season. Arthur Tay, Chairman of SSA explains: “Several superyachts actually started their Asian cruising season in September with F1 race, then cruise to the beautiful islands of Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand and will now be coming back for the Volvo race after a few weeks of really unique cruising. Right after the ONE15 Singapore Ocean Race, which I chair, then they will go again cruising around discovering some new sceneries. Seeing our Malaysian friends coming with their superyachts was very heartwarming, just like it was great seeing here superyachts that never came before”.
If the trend were to continue, the Singapore superyacht scene will quickly become very vibrant. YP Loke, SSA Vice-Chairman comments: “There are over 29 very good quality superyacht berths in Singapore but we have never seen them filled at the same time. Let’s get that done first, let’s deliver great service to the superyachts, their owners and their crews and we will progress from there. More and more superyachts are coming here on a regular basis so really the best way to build the “third destination” is actually to keep them coming and enjoying everything during their stay, from the events, to the food, the ease of getting supplies, repairs etc. “
Jean-Jacques Lavigne concluded: “We have a development road-map for the industry, and clearly it is becoming more and more a concerted effort between the private and the public sector. Ultimately, it is still about people being happy being around superyachts, their beauty, their technology and all the moments of joy and peace they offer to their owners. Singapore simply has to be an extension of that.”