The Caribbean, the number one winter yachting destination, has always been popular among high-end travelers. The blissful white sands, calm waters, jade-colored sea and sunken caves attract a large number of visitors each year. Our expert charter broker Nicolas Benazeth has provided the overview on the current situation in the region and the Caribbean yachting scene.
There is no doubt that last winter has been a very trying time for the Caribbean and the hurricane-hit islands in particular, and this has of course extended to the charter market. In addition to the devastating human and physical effects of the storms, many islands in the area have suffered from the downturn in numbers of charter yachts visiting this prime yacht charter destination, and this sadly during what is the high season in normal years. The good news is that those charters that did go ahead went very well, and in most cases outperformed even the most positive of expectations, with clients visiting the Caribbean still being wowed by its beautiful cruising grounds, natural beauty and ever-friendly and hospitable people.
Feedback from charterers throughout the area from the Virgin islands through St Barths, St Martin and the Leeward islands has been excellent, with many clients amazed at how quickly the islands were recovering both physically and through the resilience and motivation of their inhabitants. Anyone who chartered this winter will be coming back in future to sail other parts of the Caribbean for sure. It was also heartwarming to note the genuine concern of the yachting community, from crew to agents and all the way to charterers and owners, who all contributed to a range of charitable organizations and ongoing relief efforts. We expect the experience of those who visited this year to greatly contribute to the recovery of the charter market as soon as the 2018/2019 season, and yachts are already confirming charters in the area at this stage, with ever-growing demand. The positive coverage and momentum of early bookings are also helping owners commit taking their yachts there from the Mediterranean, and all signs point to a very successful winter coming up.
It is also worth noting that some of the less visited areas such as the southern Windward islands may very well also benefit from this, as they were ‘rediscovered’ by many charterers who moved their cruising from some of the hurricane-affected areas to less impacted islands further south last season, and were able to show off their potential too.