"Business as usual" for Greek luxury yacht charters
by Sophia Heath
“Business as usual” for Greek luxury yacht charters is the message from the Greek Yachting Association (GYA) to clients planning on visiting the country.
With Greece voting in a referendum this Sunday (4 July) on proposals made by creditors last week, there has been some concern that the country’s financial insecurity will impact superyacht industry. However, brokers want to reassure clients that the situation will not affect the “safety or wellbeing of charter guests.”
“At the moment, all yacht charters in Greece are proceeding without any problems at all,” said president of the GYA and CEO of Atlanta Golden Yachts Michael Skoulikidis.
“Guests that are already here are enjoying their vacation and we are preparing for the next arrivals. There is no shortage of provisions, the destinations are as tranquil and safe as they always are, and everything in the yachting sector is under control.”
Michel Chryssicopoulos from Cape 4 Yachting argues that far from putting people off chartering, the situation could encourage people to come to the region.
“Superyachts will still receive an excellent full service in Greece. Fuel, provisioning etcetera are still taking place as normal. The current uncertainty could possibly create good deals for yacht charters,” he told Boat International.
Skoulikidis agrees that people should still be planning to book luxury yacht charters in Greece and the Greek islands.
“Most of the charter companies in Greece have proactively made the necessary arrangements well before the latest developments,” Skoulikidis said. “We hoped for the best but prepared for the worst in order to safeguard both our clients' and our own interests.
"Greece was, is and will always be a yachting paradise. No matter how the story unfolds, yacht charters in Greece will remain a dream vacation and the Greek yachting industry possesses the means to weather the storm."
Superyacht lawyer John Leonida from Clyde & Co told Boat International that visitors should take some precautions to ensure that their charter runs smoothly.
“You need to think ahead and protect yourself from any potential problems that could arise,” said Leonida. “You need to put yourself into a bubble to avoid dealing with the Greek banking system.”
One of the potential issues is that tourists are being advised to take more cash rather than relying on being able to use credit and debit cards.
“If you are carrying larger volumes of cash you have to speak to your insurers to make sure that you are covered,” Leonida said. “You also need to think about just how much cash you will have and consider the legal requirements for declarations. There is no currency control, but you have an obligation to declare if you have more than €10,000.”
John Leonida also reiterated the importance of having a lawyer examine any charter contract.
“Get your charter contract looked at by a lawyer who is experienced and can advise you on what is appropriate for your particular circumstances and those of the yacht you are chartering. It isn’t a one size fits all and each set of circumstances will be slightly different, depending on who owns the yacht, where the yacht if flagged and if the owners have a Greek charter license" he added. “The situation doesn’t mean that Greece is closed for business, it just means that things need to be done in a slightly different way.”