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Where will charter yachts be cruising this summer?

20 May 2022• Written by Olivia Michel

Want to know which countries the superyacht crowd is travelling to this summer? As Q1 comes to a close and brokers secure their final bookings for summer 2022, BOAT finds out which popular destinations yacht charter guests are flocking to this season.

West Mediterranean

Experts from a range of brokerage houses concluded that, in line with previous years, the western regions of the Mediterranean Sea remain the most popular destinations for charter guests to visit in summer.

Vanessa Buck and Liz Cox from Cecil Wright reported that Italy was “ranking the highest amongst enquiries.”

Sardina, home to the famous Cala di Volpe hotel in Porto Cervo, remains a top yachting hotspot.
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In particular, the Amalfi coast was described as a “hotspot” by Buck and Cox as well as brokers from Burgess, West Nautical and Camper & Nicholsons. “The Amalfi Coast is always a very popular cruising destination, but this summer we’re going to see a lot more yachts in the area,” confirmed Burgess’ Craig Cohen.

Other West Med regions where travellers will likely spot charter yachts at play are the Aeolian Islands and Sardinia. Moravia Yachting senior charter broker William Molloy described the Mediterranean’s key regions as “the ‘golden quadrilateral’ From St Tropez across to Portofino and stretching down to Sicily and back up enveloping Sardinia and Corsica.”

Read More/The best yachts for charter in the west Mediterranean
East Med destinations such as Montenegro are seeing a rising interest from yacht charter guests.
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East Mediterranean

This season, however, brokers report that tides have turned in the favour of East Mediterranean destinations. “Interestingly, Fraser’s bookings this year are evenly split between the Western Med and the Eastern Med, with Croatia, Montenegro and the Greek islands seeing particular focus,” detailed Fraser CEO Raphael Sauleau.

“There has been a trend of demand moving towards the East,” confirmed West Nautical’s managing director Geoff Moore. Industry-wide data gathered by Yachtfolio shows that a total of 9,527 days of charters were booked in the West Med in Q1 of 2022, compared to a total of 12,159 days in the East Med for the same period.

Brokers shared that the destinations of Croatia, Greece and Turkey are now rivalling what Sauleau describes as “classic destinations such as France, Italy and the Balearic Islands.”

Croatia is top of many charter guests' wish lists this season.
Credit: Pexels

“Croatia is very popular this season; not only does it have beautiful water and almost guaranteed sunshine, but the lower tax rate (13% as opposed to the 20% in France and 22% in Italy) makes it an attractive option,” detailed Hume Jones from Y.CO.

Buck and Cox from Cecil Wright also noted that, while Greece is already a yachting hotspot for the East Med, a recent “breakthrough from the Greek government” with regards to a new charter license for foreign-flagged yachts in the country “may see the East med gaining in popularity during summer 2023” as well.

Northrop & Johnson charter manager Natascha Weber added that she had also received “three enquiries for Malta, which is not one of the typical charter destinations even though it offers so much to see and do.”

Read More/The best superyachts to charter in the East Mediterranean
French Polynesia has started luring guests away from the Med this summer.
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Further afield

Sauleau shared that 31% of Fraser’s 2022 Q1 retail charter bookings took place in the Caribbean while 55% took place in the Mediterranean, confirming that these two locations are clearly still the superyacht hotspots for charter guests. However, Fraser’s head of charter management for the USA, Kellie Shoemaker, shared that “more adventurous and far-flung destinations are seeing more interest than normal.”

“In particular, interest in French Polynesia – where our charter yachts Formosa and Askari are based this summer – is up,” said Shoemaker.

Fraser charter yacht Formosa is currently based in the South Pacific.
Credit: Fraser

Northrop & Johnson’s Weber added that clients were seeing a greater interest in destinations with cultural attractions. “Guests now want to learn and feel the places they call into, visiting unique archaeological or historical sites, museums, wine yardsor famous film locations. They go ashore for much more than restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.

“It is overly exciting to guide people in putting together an amazing experience that goes beyond their time on board,” added Weber.

Wherever charter guests decide to go this summer, the advice from brokers is clear: book early. If possible, Cohen from Burgess suggests shifting charter dates to September instead of peak season, with Jones from Y.CO agreeing: “September is a fantastic time to charter, yet has much better availability of the best yachts due to it being lower season.”

Read More/Far, far away: Yachts for charter in remote locations