The 35th America’s Cup brought international visitors to Bermuda, many of whom arrived aboard private and charter superyachts. The island’s government temporarily relaxed some of its previously restrictive maritime rules to make it easier. It’s now approved new, more attractive allowances for superyachts cruising Bermuda.
Last week, Bermuda’s House of Assembly passed the Superyachts and Other Vessels (Miscellaneous) Act 2019, outlining the changes. The government worked with the Bermuda Tourism Authority as well as others to develop the new framework. In sum, it allows more yachts, starting at 78 feet (24 meters), to secure cruising and charter permits. The allowances are based on size. In addition, yachts can stay without penalty during transit when taking on fuel and provisioning. On a related note, Bermuda residents are now allowed to bring vessels into the country for six months or fewer duty-free.
“The legislation is a game-changer,” says Mark Soares of the concierge company Bermuda Yacht Services. Soares had input into the bill. He adds that brokers in particular have been calling him to visit, and inquire about superyachts cruising Bermuda. “They’re aware of what Bermuda’s doing and are starting to fly in,” Soares explains. “Bermuda has been on the superyacht radar since hosting the America’s Cup, and now that we are moving ahead, the island can better compete and become a bona fide cruising destination.”
Speaking of the America’s Cup, 51 megayachts signed up for the official America’s Cup Superyacht Program. Dozens more came on their own to anchor out or secure a marina berth. PwC Bermuda issued an economic-impact report after the regatta, too. It revealed that superyachts alone spent $14 million during the event.
“It makes sense to attract more superyachts to our market,” says Glenn Jones, the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s chief experience development officer. He points to the marinas, culture, recreational activities, and other factors as big attractions.
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