The New Zealand tourism industry is celebrating after a record number of superyachts visited ports in the country this season.
New Zealand saw a significant increase with 57 superyachts visiting between April 2014 and March 2015 — a 54 per cent rise from last season. It is a record number for the country since the America’s Cup in 2000 when more than 90 superyachts came to Auckland’s shores.
"It's a fantastic outcome and is the result of organistions bringing their expertise together to really put New Zealand on the map as a superyacht destination," said Jason Hill from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
"Each superyacht contributes more than $1 million to the economy with each visit and in many cases in excess of $5million. This includes expenditure on tourism by the owners and crew and for berthage and marine services for the yacht."
NZ marine executive director Peter Busfield added that recent regulation changes that allow superyachts to stay for up to 24 months and also do limited chartering had also influenced the rise.
Auckland is the hub of New Zealand’s marine sector with 60 per cent of the country’s industry is based in the region.
The industry was further boosted in January when 134m motor yacht Serene berthed in Auckland's Wynyard Wharf.
“The $423 million yacht extended its stay in New Zealand so that it could carry out maintenance work, adding value to the marine sector,” Hill said.
“Auckland is renowned for its sailing and marine aptitude and valued for our internationally acclaimed superyacht new build, refit and maintenance capacity."
The major of Auckland Lee Brown added that “relative anonymity” that a visit could offer was “very enticing for superyacht owners”.
“The experience Auckland offers both on and off the water, coupled with our marine expertise, is fast becoming a major drawcard for superyachts,” he said.
The Destination New Zealand Superyacht Attraction Initiative Group has now set a target to attract 74 superyachts to New Zealand by 2018.