Simpson Marine’s Paul Whelan on Indonesia’s steady awakening
In a Column for Yacht Style Issue 64, Whelan reveals that he has seen some positive signs for yachting in Indonesia during the pandemic and believes more influential people are recognising the benefits of developing the industry in the vast archipelago.
Paul Whelan, Simpson Marine’s Indonesia Country Manager
The Indonesian yachting industry has continued to flourish during the last two years despite the slowdown of so many other industries, in particular the travel industry, due to the pandemic.
Fortunately, the interest in marine activities has grown at a considerable pace as more and more people have stayed close to home and been looking for a safe, healthy activity they can share with their friends and families in a protected environment.
It has been nice to see considerable interest from new participants who have previously not been so interested in the yachting lifestyle. The pandemic gave them a reason to do something and now they’re hooked!
Unfortunately, the lack of inbound tourists damaged the liveaboard charter market, particularly in locations such as Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat. This was offset by the rising interest from the domestic market as people started to explore the wonders of their own ‘back yard’.
This was particularly evident in the high-end market where some of the leading vessels have had extremely good years despite virtually no inbound tourists.
Jakarta still has the largest concentration of yachts and is also home to many of our clients. It was a pleasure to help so many new boaters buy their first yachts. Two notable purchases were a new Sanlorenzo SL78 and a Sanlorenzo SL118.
Aquila 70 Luxury
It was nice to see more interest coming from other parts of the country including Manado in North Sulawesi and Bali, with the sale of the new Aquila 70 Luxury. This yacht will be setting a new standard for sustainability as it will be fitted with a large amount of custom-made solar panels contoured to the shape of the yacht that will make its generators almost redundant.
An interesting benefit of all these new yacht owners is that it has exposed the lack of marine infrastructure to a new level of people. I’m now seeing more and more influential owners starting to push and invest in the industry. This is a great development and exactly what Indonesia needs to take recreational yachting to the next level.
It’s only a matter of time before we see more marinas, better-quality shipyards dedicated to yachts, and local governments around the archipelago welcoming yachts.
The areas attracting the most attention are Jakarta, Bali, Flores and Papua. Growing infrastructure in these regions will be a huge boost to the industry and especially the regional economies through investment, the creation of new jobs, training for roles within the industry and so on.
Considering the country has a population of 270 million people and an enormous archipelago that provides sheltered, year-round cruising, we continue to see a very bright future for yachting in Indonesia.
Whelan is Simpson Marine Indonesia’s Country Manager, having previously spent six years with the company in Singapore. The Australian has over three decades of marine industry experience covering boat building, working on superyachts, business and sales. A qualified Master Class IV Captain, Whelan has logged extensive sea miles including lengthy periods in Asia on board 60m-plus yachts.
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