Taken on the role of managing director, Liza Singer has dealt with the development, design and construction of the Karpaz Gate Marina project since 2005. She is responsible for operations and marketing, deals with financial and legal issues, and manages negotiations with local authorities and national government. Karpaz Gate Marina is owned by an international UK-based investment group.

MD Liza Singer

Liza Singer, managing director of Karpaz Gate Marina

It is clear that conflict and dangerous unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has affected this year’s superyacht season, and the tourism industry in general. There are strong indications that yachting tourism has been negatively impacted in some areas with yacht owners reportedly relocating and concerns about the stability of charter bookings going forward.

Recent devastating terrorist attacks, the war in Syria and, significantly, the continued uncertainty will surely have implications for the superyacht sector when boat owners, charter companies and guests consider next year’s cruising choices and marina destinations.

However, due to these factors, it is even more important to stress that large parts of the Eastern Mediterranean remain safe to cruise in, to visit and base your superyacht.

By no means are we seeing a general exodus or avoidance of a region that contains some of the world’s most beautiful cruising destinations.

This distinction is graphically illustrated by the island of Cyprus, just a short sail from the southern coast of Turkey and the coasts of Syria and Lebanon to the east. In fact, it is widely thought that Cyprus is on the verge of a potential evolution in its yachting industry with new marina investment ready to welcome visitors to enjoy its crystal-clear waters and long summers.

Karpaz Gate Marina, our development on the Karpaz Peninsula located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is evidence of how a significant investment in a region which is so close to areas with security alerts and concerns is still thriving, expanding and investing further in a long-term business plan. It is extremely peaceful and safe on the island and we continue to have a very positive view that we can harness the potential to attract more yachts and increase the popularity of cruising in Northern Cyprus.

Karpaz Gate Marina is evidence of how significant investment in this region can thrive within a long-term business plan

As the first yacht marina in Northern Cyprus, the project to develop Karpaz Gate Marina has been an incredibly rewarding and ambitious challenge which began in 2005 and is still ongoing.

The division in Cyprus and the fact that TRNC is a self-declared state meant we were faced with the task of attracting yachts to an unknown, unrecognised, internationally embargoed country, and to a remote area like Karpaz. We knew we had to invest and give significant attention to every detail – attractive berthing packages, maintenance and service, as well as food and beverage hospitality – and our high standards were rewarded with five Gold Anchor status in 2013.

Superyacht marina

Created to cater for the needs of superyachts, the development included the build of the marina as well as all the shoreside facilities, dry dock, promenade area and leisure services, including our beach club, restaurant, gym and watersports centre. It is highly secured, secluded and private. We were also very aware that we must respect the natural beauty of this unspoilt area so we implemented a technological and eco-friendly approach within the infrastructure.

A project like this, especially as Karpaz Gate Marina is an official Port of Entry to the country, is a long-term partnership between the TRNC and private investors. With a central aim to support the local area and community, we have both local and international staff members. We are proud to have opened up the gateway to the TRNC and the Karpaz region as a tourist and sailing destination for yachts and superyachts.

Now, after more than 10 years of design, development and operation in the TRNC with a total investment of over U$100m and in a wholly new sector of tourism, the next stage of expansion will be the development of luxury accommodation on the site. We remain committed to our longer-term business plans for this unique area of the East Mediterranean.

Note: This article appeared in the December issue of Superyacht Business.