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From being described as the “perfect home port” to being praised for Australian  hospitality “second to none”, the recent  SYGGBR familiarisation tour with super yacht industry leaders was once again a huge success for Far North Queensland.

Showcasing  all  the region has to offer international super yachts, their owners and their guests, delegates were treated to exclusive, tailor-made tours which took in the wonders of Great Barrier Reef, Heritage Rainforests and the rich and fertile Tablelands.

The invited famil delegates who toured Cairns and the region from May 16th – 20th were:

  • Nicholas Fry, Camper & Nicholson, Monaco – Winner of the Perfect Home Port Competition
  • Abdulla Waheed, Maldives Yacht Support, Maldives
  • Andy Shorten, The Lighthouse Consultancy, Bali, Indonesia
  • Debora Radtke, American Yacht Agents, Florida, USA

The delegates, very well respected in the superyacht community, took part in experiencing all that Cairns, the perfect home port, has to offer the global superyacht fleet.  They attended a corporate breakfast forum, where they were presented with information on all aspects of Cairns capabilities from  attendees including  Ports North, The Cairns Regional Council, Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Advance Cairns, TTNQ, Cairns Airport, Hawker Pacific, BSE Cairns Slipways, Norship, visiting super yacht captains and others.  A welcoming party was held at the Salt House with an overwhelming attendance and support from SYGGBR members and their invited guests.

The Botanical Gardens tour was included in the agenda followed by the world-class Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and the Shipyard Precinct.

Cruising on board John Morris’ Motor Yacht Dreamtime after a heli-flight to Port Douglas was a highlight of the trip, where our visitors headed out to Low Isles for snorkelling, a tour of the island and a delectable lunch and cocktails on board.  The gracious hosts, Mr Morris and his daughter Wendy provided a comprehensive interpretation on the Great Barrier Reef.

On their last day, guests went on a heli-flight out to Hastings Reef, then took a scenic private car transfer up to Mt Uncle Distillery for a tour, lunch and tastings of the international prize-winning liqueurs and spirits.

The delegate’s trip was completed with a cocktail party on board the amazing, locally refitted Motor Yacht Spirit at Cairns Marlin Marina with invited VIP guests and SYGGBR Corporate members.  Motor Yacht Spirit owners, Martin and Jo De Banks delivered the high-end event with effortless elegance and class provided by their professional crew.  Both Motor Yacht Spirit and Dreamtime are vessels managed by Northrop & Johnson Australia, by Team Bray.

Throughout the famil, guests experienced and enjoyed a taste of the best, fresh local produce, sourced from our members.

For some, it was their first time to Australia, and “the friendly locals” was a regular observation from our visitors.

Some of the comments received from the delegates were:

Andy Shorten:

“My experience of Cairns with the SYGGBR was delightful. You’d be hard pressed to find a more conveniently situated marina, with the delightful esplanade, a bustling public swimming lagoon, a selection of relaxed and friendly bars and shops just a short walk away. Once those had been explored, we were treated to a selection of the plethora of activities in and around the town and throughout the surrounding region. Multiple professional ship yards are clearly impressively equipped for quality refit projects, haul out and survey requirements. For those looking for more than vessel maintenance and easy crew logistics, the international Maritime College facility would also be a significant draw, giving visiting yacht crew the opportunity to keep up to date with their tickets, or further their education at what is truly a world class facility. I see Cairns as a perfect port for cruising throughout the northern GBR and beyond, or a base to spend some quality down time between explorations of South East Asia and the South Pacific, and look forward to recommending our clients to spend some time there.”

Nicolas Fry:

“Cairns really is the perfect home port! The Marlin marina offers all the facilities a superyacht can dream of and more. It’s a paradise for crew with all the attractions that the region offers, the reasonable prices of life and the relaxed atmosphere. For owners, they will discover the beautiful wonders of mother nature whether on the water or inland. The Great Barrier Reef must be seen at least once in a lifetime and you don’t need to be a diver to experience some magical encounters with turtles, manta rays, sharks and all kinds of colourful fishes. And if guests want to have a break from the Ocean, they just need to drive a few kilometres into the primary rainforest to discover the most beautiful trees, flowers and animals. But the best part of this region lies with its people. The Australian hospitality is second to none and people will make you feel part of their family very quickly. Therefore, the time spent in Cairns is always too short and this will make me come back to this safe and friendly port.”

A key sponsor of the visit was the Cairns Regional Council which has three-year funding agreement with the Super Yacht Group.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Council recognises the importance of superyacht visitation to the city’s economy and supports SYGGBR in its national and international marketing efforts.

“The global superyacht industry has enormous growth potential, bringing benefits to our wider economy through supplies and services, as well as indirect spending on tourism, hospitality, retail and more,” he said.

“Council is pleased to support these inbound visits which showcase Cairns to these influential international delegates and industry decision-makers.”

SYGGBR thanks its supporters from the Cairns Regional Council, Ports North, Mobil Trinity Petroleum, Northrop & Johnson, Motor Yacht Dreamtime, Motor Yacht Spirit, Nautilus Aviation, The Salt House,The Shangri-La Hotel, Mt Uncle Distillery, FP Marine Risks, Australian Superyacht Services, Project Identity, Elliott Limousines, Heli Tours, Taylor’s Wines, Carter Marine Agencies, Southern Cross Limousines, I Do Flowers, Providore Amore, Taylor’s Wines, Markwell Marine and Communications and Roux Blond in helping make this famil the ultimate showcase for our region.

“We have everything they need: perfect location, perfect weather, perfectly safe…. In fact, for superyachts that want to discover the rest of the world, Cairns is the Perfect Home Port!” said Superyacht Group GBR Chair Carrie Carter..

The Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef has recently welcomed the findings of the first economic impact study on Australia’s superyacht industry, which has revealed a high value niche sector, that contributed a total of $1.97 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2016 financial year.

But the AEC Group economic impact study also found the industry is held back by restrictive policy – if relaxed, the industry could contribute an additional estimated $1.12 billion to GDP by 2021, for a total contribution of $3.34 billion. The study was commissioned by AIMEX and supported by the Queensland government to gain a clear understanding of the superyacht industry’s current and potential economic contribution.

The report, which identifies Cairns as one of the major hot spots for the sector, is continuing to bring new jobs and prosperity to Far North Queensland.

The ‘Economic Impact of the Superyacht Sector on the Australian Economy’ by Superyacht Australia, identifies some 1,100 jobs and $103.7m injected directly into the Cairns and Whitsunday region economies.  It also states that legislative, planning and policy support to allow foreign vessels charter rights in Australian waters would open the door to a 70% growth by 2021.

Ms Carter said: “The EIS will be used as evidence to remove barriers and support the ability for Foreign Flagged superyachts to charter in Australia and enhance the growth of the Superyacht Industry as documented in this study”.

“We have supported the push with Superyacht Australia for policy changes so that our region can realise its full potential in this exciting industry,” Superyacht Group GBR manager Joanne Drake said. “We work closely with all stakeholders to lobby for this change so that Cairns, already identified as a go-to port by the international superyacht community, will reap the benefits.”


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

The Super Yacht Group Great Barrier, a non-profit, membership based consortium is proactive internationally in promoting Cairns and the region as the perfect home port for superyachts. It attends major boat shows around the world, such as The Monaco Yacht Show, Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, The Singapore Yacht Show and Rendezvous in Tahiti and Fiji.  With the assistance of the Cairns Regional Council the group also hosts numerous inbound familiarisation tours. 

The group believes Cairns is perfectly placed with all the required infrastructure and services within a ten minute radius of the world class Marlin Marina, including an international airport.  The marina has a capability of docking superyachts up to 140M. An obvious draw card also is the Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage Tropical Rainforest.  Being the central hub to many of the current cruising hotspots for superyachts such as PNG, Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand makes Cairns a logistical port of call.