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First foreign-flagged superyacht charter license granted in Thailand

Ocean Emerald has become the first luxury yacht to be granted one of Thailand’s new charter licenses as the country aims to make itself a “superyacht hub”. The 42 metre Norman Foster-designed yacht was officially presented with the license by Thailand’s Minister of Transport at a ceremony yesterday (September 16).

The new permits are the result of three years of lobbying by key industry figures in the county to try and promote superyacht tourism in the country. Thailand's Prime Minster also supports making Phuket a superyacht hub.

“The new legislation will certainly create new opportunities for superyachts around the world and bring increased revenue to the tourism and marine industry in Thailand,” said a spokesman from J Star & Stapel, who can assist superyachts looking to get permits.

“Attracting high-net-worth-individuals is perfectly in line with the objective to promote luxury lifestyle in Thailand.”

Adam Frost, managing director of Seal Superyachts, said: "Our expectations are high and the hope is that the country will now see a greater increase in superyacht arrivals.

“Thailand is clearly extending a warm welcome to superyacht owners, with only a bare minimum of restrictions to be placed upon them if they wish to operate their charters here."

In another effort to boost the industry a new superyacht charter show will be held in Phuket next February. The show was also officially launched at the ceremony in hosted by Deputy Prime Minister, General Thanasak Patimaprakor, yesterday.

The country is also developing its superyacht infrastructure to make it a more attractive option for charters. In June, a £95 million investment in Royal Phuket Marina, which will increase the marina’s capacity from 100 to 250 berths, was announced.

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