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‘Perfect’ was the go-to word for international delegates describing the Great Barrier Reef region after last week’s Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR) familiarisation tour.

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The delegates from UK, Hong Kong, Tahiti and the USA were shown the best North Queensland has to offering a five-day visit that highlighted the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns Marlin Marina, Mossman Gorge, Port Douglas – Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Lizard lsland and Barron Falls, before they were whisked off for tours of Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach – Abell Point Marina and the Whitsundays.

Sophia Wilson, Travel Editor with Boat International, UK, said the familiarisation helped her cut through the “mixed messages” surrounding the condition of the Great Barrier Reef.

“I feel privileged to have been able to meet with experts on its health and see first-hand its recovery,” she said. “The Reef is still truly spectacular and the level of marine life on display doesn’t disappoint,” she said.

Ms Wilson said the famil gave her “wonderful insight into the great cruising grounds in Queensland”.

2018 Famil Photo 7“It was great to be able to stay on board M/Y My Spirit and enjoy Captain Martin and Jo’s hospitality, as well as experience first-hand what makes Cairns the perfect home port,” she said.

“I have also been amazed at the fabulous range of land-based activities – including the Daintree Rainforest and Hamilton Island Golf Course. Add to this the world-class hotels, such as qualia and Lizard Island, and there is no doubt that superyacht visitors are spoilt for choice.

“Above all, my abiding memory will be this superyacht community’s passion for the region they represent and I look forward to being able to communicate this to Boat International’s readers.”

For Coriandre Bredin, Superyacht Agent with Seal Superyachts in Tahiti, the famil was her first time in Cairns – “an amazing experience”.

“It is a perfect home port with a convenient marina, nice bars and restaurants, multiple shipyards, many professional services and an international maritime college that gives the crew members the opportunity to keep up to date their tickets or continue their classes,” she said.

“This region has so much to offer: either on land or on water. The Great Barrier Reef is a must-see, as is the rainforest just a few kilometres from the coast. And above that, the hospitality and friendliness of the Australians meant I felt at ease from the beginning. I will definitely recommend our vessels to stop in your beautiful region.”

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Carmen Stratton is Managing Director & Board Director with Camper & Nicholsons Asia. She has vowed to share all the information and contacts she gathered to her 14 offices around the globe.

“The package that Queensland can offer for superyacht owners and crews is very dynamic,” she said. “We experienced a wide range of services, products and most importantly, had a chance to meet with a group of passionate experts.

“From local products to high end brand, from crew training to yacht owners’ experiences, and from shore support to shipyard maintenance, you can find it all around the Great Barrier Reef.”

Florida Charter Manager/Director of Worldwide Boat, Susan Harris believes the visit was a “once in a life-time experience” and she is set to be a champion to the Australian Charter industry.

2018 Famil Photo 4“The 2018 Superyacht Group Famil proved to be one of the best charter destination famil trips,” she said. “Cairns is the perfect location for Superyacht owners and charter guests to experience the Australian culture, adventure and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature.

Ms Harris said the trip was well planned with attention to detail across “every aspect of Superyacht Charter” with an easy flow of knowledge and a lot of fun.

Accompanying the delegates, the SYGGBR were fortunate enough to secure the attendance of special guests: Courtney Barry – Tourism Australia Global Manager – Campaigns, Karen Fitzgerald – Tourism Australia Global Manager – Experiences, and MaryAnne Edwards of Superyacht Australia. This was truly a valuable experience for them highlighting everything that the GBR region has to offer – pristine beaches, world heritage listed rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, our unbeatable experiences and our world famous way of life.

SYGGBR Chairman Carrie Carter has been delighted with the success of the 2018 event.

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“We have really learned how to showcase the region and target the superyacht market,” she said. “To do this we need all parties on board, from the Marina owners Ports North, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Abell Point, Hamilton Island, the provedores and the hotels, to the marine industry service providers and the tourism movers and shakers. It’s a team effort and for guests to experience the full ten-star superyacht service and accommodation on board the locally refit motor yacht My Spirit was exceptional!

“Our work here, and around Australia, continues to grow a strong national superyacht market, with economic impact forecasts seeing a potential contribution of $1.12 billion to GDP by 2021, for a total contribution of $3.34 billion.”

“These annual familiarisation tours spread the word through the international community that the Great Barrier Reef region is a real superyacht hot-spot.”

Mayor Bob Manning welcomed the group to Cairns at the Salt House event where acting chair of the SYGGBR, David Good thanked the international guests for participating in what was set to be a hectic and compact 5 days designed to showcase the best of what the GBR region had to offer. The value of the industry sector to our region is significant and he said he welcomed initiatives like this to promote the region.

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The Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef have recently invited USA Superyacht CEO – Kitty McGowan to an impromptu 4 day famil tour of the superyacht capability of the region to include diving and snorkelling the reef after meeting with her at the annual ASMEX conference at Sanctuary Cove. Kitty will be presenting exclusively to the Super Yacht Group GBR members and visiting crew at this week’s monthly “Nautical Nights” event held at the Salt House on Thursday.

Cairns is a major hub for the sector with over 100 business catering to the needs of local and international clients – it’s regarded as a safe and secure environment close to other important Asia Pacific superyacht destinations; situated on the doorstep to the GBR and provides access to marinas, shipyards, a marine college as well as a diverse range of tourism activities. With nearby hotspots, Port Douglas, Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach in close proximity, the GBR Region’s capability and offering is substantial to include spectacular itineraries for international vessels that clear in to the country in Cairns, the logical customs port for boats in the South Pacific.

With the America’s Cup heading to this part of the world in 2021 the opportunity for Australia and Queensland is significant and the Australian superyacht industry is set to take advantage of this.

2018 Famil Photo 8Superyacht Australia congratulated Superyacht Great Barrier Reef on this initiative and also thanked Tourism Australia representatives Courtney Barry & Karen Fitzgerald for supporting the famil and participating in it. The Tourism Australia signature experiences programme is certainly a key part of our tourism offering and fits in perfectly with the Superyacht Industry. M Edwards stated ”Having tourism marketing experts like Karen and Courtney experiencing our industry and help direct our marketing efforts is invaluable”

The following companies should be noted for their contribution to this successful event:

Cairns Regional Council, Cairns Marlin Marina, Abell Point Marina, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Spirit Luxury Charters, Ocean Independence, Independent Aviation, Lizard Island, Hamilton Island, Carter Marine Agencies, Australian Superyacht Services Qld, Tourism Australia, Superyacht Australia, Great Barrier Reef Int. Marine College, Barron Falls Estate, Mt Uncle Distillery, Three Wolves, Targa GBR, the Salt House, Nautilus Aviation, Tjapukai, Thala Beach Resort, Reef Hotel Casino and Skyrail.


Joanne Drake
Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef
Ph: +61 458 794 001

Carrie Carter
Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef
Ph: +61 429 391 046

Guest Names for First Image from Left to Right:
Coriandre Bredin, Tahiti, Joanne Drake – SYGGBR, Susan Harris – USA, Carmen Lau – Hong Kong, Courtney Barry – Tourism Aust, Sophia Wilson, UK, Karen Fitzgerald – Tourism Aust, MaryAnne Edwards – Superyacht Australia