All eyes on Thailand

With Thailand opening up to yachts and yacht chartering, the Great Southern Route is looking to attract global attention.

17 March 2021


The Thai yachting industry is buoyed by news earlier in the year from the Thai Yachting Business Association (TYBA) and Verventia, owner of the Thailand Yacht Show, on the government’s approach to yacht charter. 

In a corporate statement, Verventia’s Managing Director Andy Treadwell announced the Thai Government had agreed to waive the value added tax (VAT) on yachts entering Thailand to charter in her waters.  

In 2016, legislation was changed to allow foreign yachts to gain a charter licence in Thailand, yet the requirement to import the yacht – and therefore pay 7 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the value of the boat – remained. That was until earlier this year when, in a high-level meeting in Bangkok between industry and government representatives chaired by Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, it was decided to remove that requirement.   

This is positive news not for Thailand, but the whole region. The local industry is excited for the development, albeit cautious: “This is indeed very good news for the yachting industry in the Asia–Pacific region as a whole,” stated Joshua Lee, Founder and Managing Director of Lee Marine.


“Not only will it promote the region, it will be a welcome boost to the local economies. We support this initiative by the Thai government, and are certain it will bear fruit when ratified,” he said.

The announcement has come at a critical time for the Thai yachting and tourism industry, which could use the boost from high-yield charter yachts and their guests: “It’s potentially great news for the superyacht industry here, as well as the broader Asian region,” said Adam Frost, Founder and Managing Director of Seal Superyachts. 

“We know that having more superyachts visiting Thailand will drive our economy forward – this update comes at a time when our marine industry has been badly hit by COVID-19 restrictions. The possibility of superyachts finally being allowed to charter here is potentially the breakthrough we all need in order to get back on track. 

Frost continued, “I’m hoping the Thai government will ratify it into legislation soon. I also appreciate the efforts by all involved with the TYBA and Thai government to get us to this stage.” 

With Thailand opening up to yachts and yacht charter, it means the reasons to cruise the Great Southern Route expand beyond exciting new cruising grounds to new charter market opportunities.

“There’s a great deal Thailand can offer to chartering superyachts and it’s encouraging the Thai government is moving in the right direction with this announcement. 

“We look forward to seeing the practical application of this decision as, I imagine, are many of our peers in the region,” said Gordon Fernandes of Asia Pacific Superyachts.  

Not unlike other countries in the region, the path to changing yachting regulations in Thailand has been a long one and there is still a way to go as the decision needs to be enshrined into legislation and put into practice. 

However, the meeting was enough for Verventia to announce a new concept for their Thailand Yacht Show. Originally scheduled for February this year but since postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is due to be held during November at the latest.  

In addition, new luxury events – intended to attract ultra-high-net-worth visitors to Phuket over the next decade – include a Festival of Luxury Tourism, encompassing a showcase of private aviation at the new Phuket Private Jet Terminal as well as an international classic car Concours d’Elegance, a Wellness and Anti-Ageing Expo and a Collectible Art Show.  



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