Superyacht crowd set course for Greece to escape pandemic

Like many superyacht enthusiasts, Johann Wedel-Wedelsborg spends the summer cruising around the Mediterranean Sea. This year he and his family chose Greece. There, I enjoyed a few weeks of idyllic island tours on the 56-meter Onatarina.

“The fact that you can wake up alone in the bay, go to a small town and dine in a small seaside tavern is unique. On the French Riviera, it’s not the same. Just sailing along the coast, yachting And not as remote as Greece, “said Wedell-Wedellsborg, owner of the Weco Shipping company associated with the Danish royal family.

He is one of the growing numbers of wealthy families who have opted to charter a superyacht in the Greek waters this summer. This provided a coveted boost to the devastated holiday industry in the Aegean country, which endured the summer devastated by natural disasters as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yacht activity is skyrocketing in Greece,” said Stewart Campbell, editor-in-chief of Boat International, a superyacht magazine that tracked 834 superyachts in the Greek waters in July. Recorded 1,353 ships. “It’s a lot more advanced than the previous year,” he added.

A chartered ship is like a floating hotel with the ability to control the environment and screen guests and staff for viruses, providing additional security © Anthony Venitis

One of the reasons for the rise is that Greece was opened to tourists earlier than the rest of the Mediterranean. Foreign visitors, including Americans who were unable to enter Europe due to pandemic restrictions, will be in Greece from mid-May as long as they are fully vaccinated or have a negative coronavirus test. I was welcomed.

The owner of the superyacht responded by rushing the ship to Greece. In Greece, I was convinced that I could access the ship and get the charter’s attention.

Many of the world’s superyacht fleets spend half a year in the Caribbean before moving to the Mediterranean in the summer of Europe. In contrast to sailing yachts, the majority are electric boats with a professional crew.

“There were a lot of requests in Greece this year … Our main problem is that we don’t have enough supply. [to meet] Superyacht Specialist Camper & Nicholsons Senior Charter Broker Barbara Dawson said.

Another reason for Greece’s popularity is that wealthy superyacht owners have decided that it is safer than other destinations due to its vast coastline and more than 220 inhabited islands. Chartered vessels are essentially floating luxury hotels, with the ability to control the environment and screen guests and staff for viruses to increase the level of security.

Taverna on Mykonos

Superyachts boost the local economy as people frequently moor and visit this tavern-like bar and restaurant on Mykonos © Getty Images

Greece was hit by a pandemic, but did not have the same peaks as Italy, France and Spain. However, the number of new cases has increased rapidly in the past two months. “Greece was seen as a successful and safe country during Covid-19, especially for US customers,” Dawson said.

The Golden Yacht, which builds and charters superyachts, is another beneficiary. “Last year, the market was an absolute nightmare. This year is exactly the opposite. CEO John Dragnis said:

He goes on to say: “There are well-known clients, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities who charter yachts who feel they are the safest choice for a pandemic vacation.”

Greece was hit by wildfires this summer, especially around Euboea and the capital Athens. Increased infections have also led to restrictions at some popular destinations and blockades of the region.

However, this does not discourage foreign tourists, with more than 6 million arriving already this year. “The last time I saw these numbers was in 2019, before the pandemic,” Tourism Minister Harry Theo Harris said in a television interview this week.

Superyachts are technically over 24 meters long and can cost tens of thousands to millions of euros a week, depending on size and style. The most expensive ones, such as the 136 million Flying Fox, can cost 3 million euros a week.

The charter market isn’t the only place where virus-related boosts have been given. According to Boat Pro, Boat International’s market intelligence system, superyacht brokerage sales also recorded a record increase.

When the first wave of the pandemic struck in early 2020, activity was essentially shut down — ships stopped selling and boat production at the shipyards stopped.

However, due to the large number of buyers returning last summer, the second half of 2020 recorded more sales than any other six months. This trend accelerated in 2021 and all previous years have been blown out of the water. In the first half of the year, 344 superyachts entered the brokerage market, well above the previous year’s level.

“People who were previously hesitant to step into this sector have found that yachts provide them and their families with a perfect means of isolation,” Campbell said.

Superyachts carry huge private stores of food and other necessities, but their presence can provide a great boost to the local economy. According to a pre-pandemic study by the Greek Marina Association, superyacht visitors spend up to five times as much as the average Greek hotel guest.

“Unlike cruise ships, where people tend to eat and spend time on board, part of the joy of yachting is discovering new bars and restaurants. Mooring fees and commodities that directly benefit the local economy. There are also sales of services and services, “says Campbell.

Olga Millioni, a yacht agent based in Mykonos, a Greek island popular with the crowd of superyachts, also emphasized the economic benefits they bring.

“For red shrimp, top quality fish, flowers, limousine service and VIP bookings on the island, you can spend 10,000 euros on drinks alone,” she said.

“Others wanted a really expensive bag … or a custom-labeled champagne bottle and luggage,” someone else said, “Listen to a DJ playing in a club and do a private show on a yacht. Begged”.

Superyacht crowd set course for Greece to escape pandemic Source link Superyacht crowd set course for Greece to escape pandemic

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