By Yusra Sarkar
As Europe tentatively lifts lockdown protocols, people are starting to think about summer holidays. While most of us are possibly thinking about staycation options, for the lucky few, yacht charters are a tantalising alternative.
‘To some extent, superyachts offer the perfect 2020 summer holiday. Guests can enjoy the combination of sun, sea and seclusion in the lap of luxury,’ says Andrew Wilson, ZEDRA’s Head of Marine and Aviation. ‘Just a couple of months ago, we thought that the 2020 charter season might be a write-off. However, we slowly see travel restrictions lift in Europe, and there’s already plenty of interest in chartering yachts, although there are some crucial things to think about first,’ says Andrew.
Careful itinerary planning
Summer charter itineraries need to be planned carefully, ensuring that international quarantine rules can be respected. Maritime bodies and crew will likely insist on some degree of tracing if guests go ashore during their stay.
Embarkation and disembarking also need to be considered. With international flights still limited, and little information on quarantine rules, ‘air bridges’ and potential testing requirements, getting to and from a yacht could be challenging.
This could mean that more guests will charter within their ‘own’ waters – ideal for residents of countries like Spain, France and Italy. ‘If that’s not an option, we expect it may be easier to get guests to larger yachts, as they usually have a helicopter landing capability. Guests can then fly into a local airport via private jet and transfer onto the boat with the helicopter. However, access to private aviation won’t entirely solve the problem because in some countries, airspace is still closed and crew still need to travel to get to the boat,’ says Andrew.
Where can a charter go?
Yacht charters have typically visited multiple destinations, but that’s unlikely this summer. Italy, despite its previously stringent lockdown, is one of the first countries opening up for charters, probably in a bid to boost tourism and the economy.
While choosing countries to visit, however, guests will still have to consider physical movement restrictions imposed by countries and local port authorities. As guidelines become clearer in the coming weeks, there may well be more clarity on the countries that will allow more or less freedom of movement. Those chartering yachts may well then decide where they want to visit, based on these restrictions.
‘Despite being open for charter, not every country is likely to enjoy an influx of yachts. Time will tell if Italy will be a popular destination for 2020 charters, but I think we can expect some trepidation. Comparatively, Croatia has been relatively unscathed, and they may fare better,’ says Andrew.
How ZEDRA can help
ZEDRA will be supporting clients and help plan movements and itineraries where possible. ‘Our network of key contacts in main ports is key. We’re able to get official guidelines and insights for our clients. All in all, daily updates look very promising for the summer of 2020 for yacht owners and charterers. Undoubtedly though, yachting this summer will be a different experience than previous years,’ says Andrew.
For more information, please contact Andrew Wilson, ZEDRA’s Head of Marine and Aviation