The Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef says that it wants to turn Cairns into “the Monaco of the South Pacific” by growing its refit market for megayachts. Cairns’ superyacht industry has an annual turnover of AUS$20m, but the association wants to grow that number by 15 per cent annually over the next few years.

The Super Yacht Group said it will “market” Cairns to yacht captains in Tahiti, trying to convince them to choose Cairns over the more popular refit destination of Auckland. It has appointed a team of “ambassadors” to travel to Tahiti to meet with captains.

The city’s three largest shipyards, Norship Marine, Tropical Reef Shipyard and Cairns Slipways, have also formalized a memorandum of understanding to share work on superyacht projects if the need arises. The shipyards want to be able to convince captains that the facilities will handle the largest superyacht projects as a team effort.

Stewart Smith, a founding member of the Super Yacht Group, said Cairns was an ideal place to attract more yachts because of its shipyard expertise, marina facilities, climate and tourism attractions. Smith, appointed a group ambassador, said his association would target yacht captains in Tahiti. Many captains stop there during the yachting season before taking their yachts to major refit destinations like Auckland.

“To generate more work for local companies, we need to get out there right now and attack the market and with this new level of co-operation between companies we’re perfectly positioned to do just that,” he told the paper. “Our membership has grown to 72 companies after a decline during the financial crisis and we’re heading on the first marketing trip to Tahiti in March.”

The Super Yacht Group is submitting a funding application to Cairns Regional Council’s “Invest Cairns” program to double the number of marketing trips to Tahiti.

“We’ve got a world-class marina and now we’ve got one team to target all the business,” Smith told the paper.