Yacht arrivals in Seychelles boomed in 2021, similar figure expected by end 2022
For the first six months of 2022, 59 yachts arrived in Seychelles. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles saw a 71.6 percent increase in the arrival of yachts in 2021 compared to 2020, when the island nation was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) said recently.
The SPA's director for business development, Vincent Didon, told SNA that in 2021, 91 yachts, including superyachts, visited Seychelles while only 53 came in 2020.
For the first six months of 2022, this figure stands at 59 yachts and Didon said that SPA expects around 80 yachts this year.
"Unlike the cruise ship industry, which can provide an advanced arrival notice of up to a year or two, yacht calls are not planned well in advance. If a yacht confirms its call a few weeks prior to arrival, the agency will let us know. It is hence difficult to predict the number of yacht calls that there will be until December. Based on the trends we have observed, the number of calls in a year is almost always above 60 and for 2022, we are predicting about 80 calls," he said.
Among the calls made to Seychelles, an average of 20 yachts each year are superyachts. These are privately owned, professionally crewed sailing or motor luxury yachts that are over 24 metres (79 ft) long.
Dodin explained that despite the fact that most yachts visit Seychelles during the Northwest monsoon - from October or November to April or May - there are a few that will call during the Southeast monsoon despite the choppy water conditions.
The ports authority collects port dues for the length of a vessel's stay in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. When a vessel berths at a port managed by the authority, it also has to pay a fee.
"On average we are collecting around SCR 4 million ($281,267) per year with the yacht industry. The vessels, especially superyachts, bring in high spenders. They inject a lot into the country's economy by buying supplies and fuel from SeyPec [Seychelles Petroleum Company]. They also provide business to ship chandlers, pay an agency a fee if they are dealing with one, and also pay day-workers who come to help clean the vessels, or even recruit a deckhand or a chef from the local community," said Didon.
With the industry being one that is developing fast, Dodin said that there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to the synergy between different agencies involved.
The SPA's deputy chief executive, Egbert Moustache, said that "it is very important for Seychelles to up its game if we want the business to flow."
He said that the government has realised that there is more potential in this industry and as such is encouraging marina development.
"The exact locations for the development have not been exactly finalised but there are several suggestions made, but these projects are in the pipeline," said Moustache.
Earlier this year, the government announced the construction of a new marina on Praslin that will solve the lack of berthing area problem that Seychelles' second most populated island currently faces.
"With the proposition of the government to develop marinas on Praslin, with three areas earmarked already, this will bring this sector to another level. Praslin is a top local destination for yachts as there are many places to visit both on land and at sea. It is a small hub for the surrounding islands," said Didon.