The stock phrase ‘undiscovered paradise’ is not often applied to a world-renowned tourist magnet like Phuket – but in one crucial aspect Thailand‘s top resort destination still earns the title.
Even though the Andaman Sea is leagues ahead of most rival yachting playgrounds, its island-dotted water attract far fewer boats than their attractions deserve.
For Mark Breit of Laguna Tours, Phuket’s yachting industry simply needs a few sympathetic bureaucrats.
For a start, he calls for Phuket to allow boat ramps, so owners can turn up with trailers and launch their own yachts. Complicated licensing and registration procedures also need an overhaul, he writes in the Bangkok Post.
Yet he spots several signs that Phuket’s yachting world is already making headway. Big yachts – from 50 to 80 foot in length – are especially popular, due to calm seas and relatively easy finance.
Phuket’s new East Coast marinas are drawing in European and Australian yachties, who come to sail during the ‘Down Under winter’, he adds.
What’s more, Asia now leads the world in its appetite for superyachts, which can revel in the Andaman Sea’s lack of traffic and year-round boating opportunities.
Phuket’s recent PIMEX boat show pulled in more vessels, including top-range Pershing 80’ and Ferretti 881 motoryachts.
All said, realising Phuket’s stunning yachting potential will not be exactly plain-sailing – but the yachting industry seems on the right course.