Vietnam looks to learn from China
Session two of this year’s Asia Boating Dialogue’s covered Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
A Jeanneau Leader 36 in Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s key areas for pleasure boating; © VietYacht
Vietnam has been touted as Asia’s most exciting emerging yachting market, yet in this week’s second session of the 2020 Asia Boating Dialogue, local expert Sam Do said securing proper government classification for leisure boats was the industry’s number one priority.
Do, Managing Director of Saigon Yacht and Marina based in Ho Chi Minh City, said key hurdles still needed to be overcome before the Southeast Asian country could start to follow in the footsteps of its neighbour China, where leisure boating has only become established in the past couple of decades.
Do said Vietnam’s first international-standard marina, AnaMarina, is set to officially open in October, but said the yachting industry’s priority was securing proper government classification of private leisure boats.
“There’s no special code for leisure boats, no category for marinas. Leisure boats are basically treated under the same rules as commercial boats and fishing boats,” said Do, whose company represents brands including Aquila, which builds its power catamarans in China.
“Boating is new and trendy in Vietnam right now. A lot of people already own luxury cars, but not many people in Vietnam can say they own a Princess or a Ferretti.”
Other leading dealerships include Tam Son Yachting (Beneteau, Lagoon, Monte Carlo Yachts, Zodiac Nautic), VietYacht (Jeanneau, Prestige, Fountaine Pajot) and LuxYacht (Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing). Do also said MarineMax Vacations was establishing charter operations in Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Tam Son Yachting is chartering a Lagoon 630 MY powercat, which has hosted many events
Vietnam has a population of just under 100 million, of which 60 per cent are under 35, and a 2,000-mile coastline with warm weather for most of the year.
Much of the coastline in the northern half of the country – including world-famous Halong Bay – is just 200 miles from Hainan Island, ‘China’s Hawaii’. Hainan has developed into the mainland’s leading yachting hub and is currently in the process of becoming a free trade port and free-trade zone.
“We are learning a lot from the China market, but first of all, we hope to work with the Vietnamese government to have a new category for leisure boats and marinas,” said Do, an electrical engineering graduate of the University of Washington.
Speakers at the Asia Boating Dialogue’s second Zoom webinar
Hainan’s tax-free status has not yet been implemented, yet international yacht builders and agencies are setting up bases on the island in anticipation of a boating boom in the province, which already features several large marinas.
As well as Vietnam, the second session of the Asia Boating Dialogue also included presentations on China by Zhang Weihang (China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association), Hainan, China (Stuart Hu, Sanya Central Business District Administration), Hong Kong and Macau (Lawrence Chow, Hong Kong Boating Industry Association), Taiwan (Virginia Chuang, Taiwan Yachting Industry Association), Korea (Dr Kim Choong-hwan, Korea International Boat Show) and Japan (Kenta Inaba, Super Yacht Association of Japan).
Vietnam's Halong Bay is almost 1,700km northeast of Thailand's Phang Nga Bay, yet in some ways they're sister environments, featuring stunning limestone karsts, islands, caves and beaches, and toured by millions of visitors each year. With almost 2,000 islands and islets, Halong Bay is the big sister and spans about 1,500sqkm, making it almost four times the size of Phang Nga Bay.