The Yachting Industry Can't Afford Another Lost Season
The yachting industry is one of the only sectors of business that has been largely shut down since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, it is pleading with international governments to allow for international yacht arrivals to resume.
Most sea and air borders have been closed for international travel since March of 2020 in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Arrivals into most countries needed to be granted approval beforehand by government officials.
“The yacht services sector in Trinidad is world class and operates as a direct foreign exchange earning industry; this income is being lost.,” said the Yachting Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT). “The customers to this industry directly and indirectly support several thousands of local incomes and their families; their livelihood is being lost.”
Not only are international charters being affected, but yachts owned by foreign nationals are seeing limited access to their property or limited access to dry docks and other essential services.
Clearly, the industry has been struggling with a variety of challenges including immigration clearance bureaucracy and competition from other islands. The restrictions imposed to mitigate COVID-19 are only affecting the industry more.
While the borders of many islands are still shut, other islands have successfully reopened and managed their yachting sector through testing, mandatory quarantine periods either aboard vessels or in designated spaces, and other strict controls.
Many officials and executives have outlined their months-long quests to get approvals and exemptions to resume cruising in international waters. Regardless, no solution has been reached.
“Our people’s livelihoods are at stake,” YSATT said. Many say that there has never been more pressure to restart the industry.