A recent study undertaken by Port Denarau marina revealed that the yacht industry contributed over $42 million to the Fiji economy, last year.
In 2017, Port Denarau recorded 554 cruising yachts and 65 super yachts, paying a visit there.
Operations manager Bruce MacDonald said super yachts are now choosing Fiji as their destination choice.
“Each super yacht’s average visit to Fiji was 79 days with each yacht regardless size was spending a whopping $435,000 when it was in port,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Super yachts that were chartered in Fiji also grew with a total of 11 weeks of charter taking place. This may not sound like much but a one-week holiday on a 50- meter super yacht will set you back around $200,000 plus food and fuel,” he said.
“Denarau is seeing some of the world’s most influential and wealthiest people now making Fiji one of their top regular destinations. Fiji is on its way to becoming the hub of the South Pacific for these vessels and a playground for the ultra-rich and famous.
“Every super yacht owner or charter is a potential investor for Fiji and there have seen some resort developments financed by super yacht owners.
“This fact dramatically adds the value of this industry,” he said.
Lomaloma in Lau is also a point of entry for yachts and is overseen by Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) and Government.
Mr MacDonald said the villages have seen the beneficiary of yachts berthing near their village.
“We are also seeing a surge in the employment of Fijians as crew on these yachts and there are a few Fijians that are now successful super yacht captains,” he said.
“The smaller cruising yacht sector has shown good growth. Most of these smaller yachts are spending money in the outer islands often where there is no other tourism.
“There are opportunities in the islands to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and basic foodstuff, meke and lovo can also be sources of revenue as well as tour guiding, moorings and marine protected areas tours.
The cruising yachts are now undertaking more of their repair and maintenance works whilst in Fiji.
This now employs hundreds of people with rapidly growing skill levels.
“With the help of the Government agencies like FRCA and Immigration, and the assistance from Tourism Fiji, long-term strategies and continued investment are all required to consolidate these gains including clearance ports such as Port Denarau and Lomaloma in Vanuabalavu,” he said.