Maryanne Edwards, CEO of AIMEX and Superyacht Australia, attended the recent DestinationQ conference held in Cairns on 25 - 26 June to ensure the voice of the Queensland Superyacht and marine sector was heard. The marine industry in Queensland employs around 8000 Queenslanders directly and contributes some $2 billion a year to the Queensland economy.
The conference which went for 2 days was an initiative of the new Newman government and was driven by Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey. DestinationQ is a whole-of-government initiative to grow tourism and re-position this state as the number one tourist destination in Australia.
300 key industry stakeholders attended the conference along with a number of high ranking Queensland government members of parliament and officials.
Edwards stated that the conference was a valuable experience, well run and covered considerable ground over the two days. Edwards said she raised the key concerns of the superyacht sector asking the state government to support Superyacht Australia’s drive at federal level to remove regulations that are barriers to growth, to also support an amendment to the 35 metre rule for superyachts in the Great Barrier Reef and to look at the infrastructure now required to support this significant part of the Queensland economy.
A key barrier to attracting more yachts to cruise in Queensland is the charter regulations and Superyacht Australia has a submission on this issue currently sitting with the federal government. It is hoped this submission will lead to a full review of the charter regulations making chartering in Queensland and other parts of Australia an attractive option.
'Currently we are losing business as the global superyacht fleet are bypassing us for destinations like Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand where the charter regulations have been made more attractive,' Edwards said.
Minister Jann Stuckey who spoke recently at the Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Conference (ASMEX), the key conference for the superyacht sector, confirmed her awareness of the issues facing the superyacht sector and has publicly stated that the superyacht sector is an important part of the Queensland economy and this was again echoed at the conference and in the 2020 strategy. This is a positive step forward for the superyacht industry which has a positive effect on a variety of sectors of the local Queensland economy.
Edwards said 'It was refreshing to see both Premier Campbell Newman and Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey attend the conference for the 2 days and participate fully in discussion.
'Newman was determined that nothing would be swept under the table and everyone’s comments and thoughts were recorded and would be further researched. He also committed to holding another conference in 12 months’ time to see how well things had progressed and be totally transparent regarding these outcomes.'
Edwards stated that the superyacht industry is fully behind this 2020 strategy. It is critical to work with the Queensland government to develop a new 5 year strategic plan for the industry. Now is the time to set a clear direction for the future of the superyacht sector in Queensland and meet the government’s goal of doubling revenue.
Edwards said 'If the current barriers to growth were removed, being primarily the charter regulations and the 35 metre rule for the Great Barrier Reef, doubling the revenue from superyachts could be easily achieved.'