Phuket: Super Yacht Hub of Asia
Due to limitations in the development of science and technology and the quality of Thai human resources. More than 30 years ago, Dr.Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, Senior Fellow, Harvard University first proposed and emphasized the need for Thailand to take advantage of Thailand’s niches in order to become a high-income country. It consists of four areas: the World Food Capital, Elderly Healthcare Capital, Wellness Capital, and Tourism Capital.
Guidelines for implementing this vision. In the short term, Thailand needs a suitable prototype area to be upgraded to be a model for other areas. At present, “Phuket” has the most suitable elements to be an area that will be a model for tourism. Currently, the government has given Phuket as a sandbox to open the country to foreign tourists who have received 2 injections of vaccination before other cities will gradually open in the remaining quarter all over the country.
The main strength of Phuket is that it is a closed area, which makes it easier to control the spread of the coronavirus that is likely to mutate and live with humanity for many years to come. In addition, it is an area that has a warm climate all year round. and not in monsoon areas that are at risk of windstorms. This is different from the world-famous marine tourism areas that have similar characteristics. such as the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean, which is often cold. And there is a monsoon season, making tourism can only be done in certain seasons.
In addition, Phuket is similar to the Caribbean region. and the Mediterranean in another important point, namely, being able to be the Super Yacht Hub of Asia of the region due to the presence of 3 key elements: 1. have Technology and knowledge in shipbuilding 2. Service and port management 3. There are geography and climate that are suitable for leisure travel, so with similarities and opportunities from the climatic and topographic advantages above. Therefore, Phuket is ready to support the development of Asia’s superyacht hub. for the following reasons
The first is consistent with the strengths of Phuket.
In addition to the climate advantage and terrain Phuket also has a good global tourism image. Due to the diverse tourism resources such as more than 40 beaches, historic communities. There are friendly people, and most importantly, the service is rich and unique, as a large number of integrated port operators (Marina), making this industry grow rapidly. Currently, Phuket has many world-class integrated ports. And there is a super yacht maintenance garage that is ready to be developed into a world-class garage. scattered all over the island.
Second, superyachts are a high-value tourism industry.
The global yacht industry is currently valued at approximately $64.1 billion. It is estimated that in the year 2027 it will be worth $ 84.7 billion. (Growing approximately 4.1% per year), with superyachts being the size of luxury. and more facilities which during the year 2006-2015 The number of superyachts worldwide increased by 54 percent.
Thai data indicates that it is not surprising that the average annual cost of a superyacht is higher than 7 million baht because it also includes: insurance maintenance costs. And the cost can also be increased even further by adding the luxury of comfort. Initially, this business is expected to generate income for Phuket up to 21,600 million baht per year. In addition, the industrial chain can also spread to 5 provinces, Andaman, which has at least a maritime border with Phuket, such as Phang Nga, Krabi, and Trang.
Third, in line with the new normal tourism trend in the future.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus Sales of superyachts around the world continued to rise to a record high. In 2021, sales of superyachts reached 44 billion baht due to the new normal. The travel behavior of billionaires has changed from flying a plane to traveling in a superyacht instead. because they do not have to face lockdown measures and more conditional travel restrictions which each trip lasted for months.
Although it seems that the transition to becoming the center of super yachts in Asia is very possible. But considering the potential of key competitors in the region such as Singapore with over 20 years of experience as an Asian superyacht, and Hong Kong with its maritime knowledge and culture, which is currently trying to become the center of super yachts in Asia Thailand needs to integrate the strengths we have to stand out. and efficient at the same time to defeat competitors like Singapore and Hong Kong which are following preliminary proposals:
1) Increase the speed and efficiency of the service. make it convenient for tourists to feel welcome without wasting time in traveling, such as making or extending visas for tourists during sailing, etc.
2) Create a variety of tourism to increase the opportunity to earn income from various types of tourism by developing new tourism innovations and integrating tourism with other activities such as medical and wellness tourism. business tourism to seek investment opportunities religious tourism history and culture to create a spiritual, spiritual experience, etc.
3) Integration with other strengths of the country because in addition to tourism, there are also strengths in food. Pastoral care of the elderly, wellness. Therefore, organizing tourism to attract superyacht groups. This may be done by integrating tourism with other strengths, such as integration with medicine and wellness. It is tourism for medical and wellness (Medical and Wellness Tourism) because Thailand is famous for medicine. Or is it tourism for the elderly (Elderly Tourism) because the world has entered an increasingly aging society? especially in high-income countries, Thailand is a place where people want to live in retirement. or maybe integrated to create food tourism (Food Tourism) because Thailand is the world’s top food producer and exporter. and Thai food is considered a favorite of many tourists, for example.
In addition, the production of knowledge and effective personnel to support the Thai tourism sector and serve as the hub of Asian superyachts is necessary. In the past several decades ago, Dr.Kriengsak Chareonwongsak proposed to develop Phuket Rajabhat University to be a university specializing in tourism. to perform such duties which at present may not be in the direction that he proposes but he thinks there is a need for a national tourism university. that the Institute of Nation Creation Initiative wants to happen to support Starting today, it’s not too late and it’s still in time to prepare Phuket to support Phuket’s current and future hub for Asian superyachts.
DR. KRIENGSAK CHAREONWONGSAK SENIOR FELLOW, HARVARD UNIVERSITY