After More Than a Year of Covid, Demand for Superyacht Charters Has Never Been Higher
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
(Article originally published by robbreport.com)
Brokers are reporting many seven-figure deals. With the
Western Med closed, Americans are going to Greece and Croatia, or closer to home, the Bahamas.
The yacht charter market is much less confused than last year, but some of the most popular destinations are still muddied by Covid uncertainty. Many yachts that usually head across the Atlantic are staying in the US or Bahamas, unsure when France and Italy will open to charter vessels, or with another Covid wave, whether they’ll stay open.
Despite the uncertainty, many brokers are expecting a record season and report many of their top vessels are booked out. “This will be a summer like we have not seen since the early 2000’s,” Robert Shepherd, partner at Edmiston, told Robb Report, pointing to a rise in personal wealth among high-net-worth individuals. “We have also seen an unprecedented amount of yacht sales, which has brought a new selection of yachts to the market for charter.”
The boom is welcomed by brokers. “Last year was chaos,” Gina Robertson, a charter broker with Fraser Yachts, told Robb Report. “Many owners refused to give refunds or allow future changes, but now Covid addendums on the contracts allow for customary variations. Things are still a bit up in the air, but nothing like last summer.”
Greece, Croatia and Turkey recently announced they will allow charters. Brokers are waiting for France, Italy and Spain to reopen before they steer Americans towards those countries. “A number of yachts are considering moving their cruising areas from the West to Eastern Mediterranean for the season,” emailed one broker, asking not to be named. “I’m telling clients if they ever wanted to visit Greece or Croatia, now is the time.”
The demand is there, says Robertson. American clients are “champing at the bit” to cruise the Western Med. “We’re just not promoting new business in the Western Med until we have more news,” she says.
French President Emmanuel Macron told local media that he expects his country to reopen to vaccinated Americans on June 9, while Spain also said it would open to non-European travelers in June. Italy said it would allow EU tourists into the country by mid-May, though it’s not clear when vaccinated Americans will be welcome. “There’s also a difference between tourists being permitted to visit and ports opening up to charter yachts,” adds Robertson. “Those could be different dates.”