By David Robinson

Revenues from Fiji’s yacht sector grew 34% last year compared with 2013. Income from this expanding part of the country’s tourism industry rose to FJ$39.6m from $28.9m a year earlier.

Dixon Seeto, president of the Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association (FHTA), says the revenue increase “can be directly attributed to co-operation between stakeholders and the government,” according to a report in the Fiji Times. He was quoted in the report as saying: “Fiji is now a world-class yacht destination, thanks to the efforts of investors at Port Denarau Marina and Vuda Marina.”

“The figures speak for themselves,” Seeto added. “These didn’t just magically appear and it is the hard work of the developers of these marinas and the industry working with the government that has achieved this. A large part of the continuing success of yachting tourism is the attractive legislation that was formulated by the government and the industry that has allowed for this growth.”

He continued: “The recent Yachting Decree made Fiji an attractive and hassle-free destination for yachts and superyachts entering the country. We are being featured in very high-profile yachting publications and this business will continue to grow because we have a lot of safe anchorages and beautiful lagoons, and places for yachts to travel to. The fact is the more we develop these yachting bases, the more the industry will grow.”

In 2014, superyachts visited Fiji for an average of 104 days while smaller yachts recorded an average of 172 days. The Yachting Decree has made it more flexible for visiting yachts, allowing them to stay longer and also participate in chartering activities.

Both Port Denarau and Vuda marinas have invested in recent years in their facilities, in particular to cater for superyachts. Port Denarau Marina recently announced a long-term, $200m development project that includes a new 200-berth marina, a new large boat yard facility, hotel, apartments, nature reserve and various sports facilities.