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Bahamas Targeting Mega Yacht Market

Ministry of Tourism officials drove the message that The Bahamas is open for business post-Dorian to high net worth attendees at the recent Monaco Yacht Show.

The event, which took place from September 25 to 28, featured more than 600 exhibitors and 125 super yachts. Carla Stuart, the ministry's senior director of cruise and maritime development, said: "The good thing is, and what yachters love about The Bahamas, is that there are so many diverse islands.

"Our waters are diverse and remain unchanged despite what the hurricane has done to two of our northern islands. The people are as hospitable as ever, and willing to receive visitors and just show them a really good time in The Bahamas. The beautiful scenery of The Bahamas remains the same for the most part, and we are looking forward to a great season moving forward."

The global mega yacht industry is estimated to be worth just over $8bn. Spending for a single 50-metre vessel is pegged at $5m per year, and Joe Dargavage, vice-president of the Association of Bahamas Marinas and Romora Bay's general manager, touted The Bahamas' capacity to cater to the super yacht market.

"The Bahamas has come a long way," he said. "There was a time when the larger vessels just stayed in the southern Caribbean because, at times, they thought that there was a depth issue.

"But the depth of the waters of The Bahamas is well documented, and we get vessels well into the 300-foot range and well into 400 feet in Nassau and Paradise Island. We have the Bay Street Marina, Atlantis and, even venturing into the outer islands, you have Harbour Island, which is a huge boating destination.

"Even in Exuma we have amazing anchorage right off the shore, and so it makes for a great cruising ground; a great charter destination. The number one thing that people can do to help The Bahamas right now is to come and visit."

Ms Stuart said the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has entered into a partnership with Acrew - a super yacht programme aimed at educating more than 13,000 crew members and 2,500 captains.

Recently, 15 of the top influencers at Acrew were hosted on a familiarisation trip to The Bahamas in Nassau, Abaco and Eleuthera.

"We tried to make sure that they got familiar with partners in the destination. We want our clients to know what we can offer them throughout The Bahamas and it's a wonderful thing that interest in The Bahamas continues to be very high," said Ms Stuart.

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