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Old 20-09-2012, 13:02   #1
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How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

I have somehow allowed myself to get myself roped into moderating a conference this weekend on the Black Sea about developing the yachting infrastructure of a certain Eastern European country and promoting the sport. The organizers didn't tell me that I am expected to give a keynote speech. It's not a trivial job as there will be people there on the level of ministers.

So now I have to cobble together a speech on the plane tomorrow.

Maybe you guys could help me with a list of things you think a former Communist country, eager to join the modern world, could do to attract yachtsmen and promote the sport? With an emphasis on infrastructure?

I don't think it's actually rocket science. Why, just off the top of my head I would:

1. Train customs and immigration officers to clear yachts in and out in a friendly and professional manner, after studying the practice in Western countries. They are presently trained to deal with merchant ships only and make a real unpleasant hash out of dealing with yachts, which keeps people away.

2. Reform laws so that yachts don't have to clear in and out in every port. They clear in once when entering the country and clear out once when they leave, and have fun in between.

3. Build marinas and/or set aside room in existing ports for yachts, with shore power, water, shower blocks, and friendly harbormasters in jon boats helping people get moored up. With free WiFi everywhere.

4. Lay free moorings.

5. Set up Navtex and VHF weather reports in English.

6. Advertise in CF -- throw some parties with free mooring and entertainment -- and otherwise do PR.

Anything else?
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Old 20-09-2012, 13:19   #2
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

keep marina costs low,avoid exclusivety,creat a yottie infastucture on a par with the local cost of living,if they can do this there will be a mass exodus from the eastern med which has become over priced.

apart from that cheap booze and good looking women,cheap flights and they are onto a winner!
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Old 20-09-2012, 13:20   #3
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

I think your points 1 and 2 are HUGELY important. You can do without amenities if you have a friendly and straight forward welcome into the country.

Another issue if trying to attract foreign yachts (and their money) is to give consideration to the safety of those visiting. Not necessarily run security patrols (although that would be nice) but give consideration to safety when choosing locations for mooring fields, marinas etc. Please don't put the mooring field next to the scariest neighborhood in town miles from any local shops, etc.

Give thought to import laws as it pertains to individual boats. Maybe give a certain amount on incoming marine equipment a duty free status if it can be assured it is not for resale. I know lots of people who have skipped countries because it was such a hassle to get needed boat gear shipped in.
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Old 20-09-2012, 13:24   #4
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

I have a friend who has just posted to his blog about his last 2 weeks in Russia. Gotta tell you I have no interest in going after hearing his experiences. He says there are police/security/military everywhere, and not just a couple guys with billy clubs but large groups with big guns and menacing attitudes. He says the people don't smile, they are very robotics and make you feel like you are a nuisance - no seems to come very easily no matter what you ask for. They made it a game to try to get folks to crack a smile but found the heaviness of the people really affected them constantly. The paperwork they had to submit to get a visa was incredible. And these folks are sweet, old, retired Canadians! I don't know if the country you are going to speak in has these sorts of issues but if they do, some cultural sensitivity/ customer service training would be top of the list for thing to work on. Nobody wants to hang around somewhere they feel unwelcome or unsafe.
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:24   #5
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

I think for me it would be the ease of visiting and feeling of safety (from everyone including gov't officals). If that is met it would then be price/costs compared to what I could see/visit on the trip beyound just another port/marinia.
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:25   #6
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

We strongly considered cruising the Black Sea a couple of years ago. We met a couple that had written a very detailed cruising guide of the area.

Unfortunatly there were just too many tales of corruption. Boats impounded for no reason with thousands in "fines" before they could leave.

A great pity as other than the shortish sailing season it looks like a great cruising ground.
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:32   #7
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

They might encourage yacht oriented businesses like chandlers, sail repair, engine repair, etc. to locate near the marina. Laundry facilities are nice. Restaurants with local cuisines are good. Provisioning close by.

I think my favourite spots were ones like Marmaris in the 80's (have not been back since).
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:34   #8
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It's really hard to judge a whole country on one persons 2 week visit. I wouldn't give up on traveling to Russia just yet friend, there are some phenomenal places to visit.

It is common in parts of the world for military types to be wandering around... the Eiffel Tower is one prime example, I always see guys with machine guns cruising around. I feel a bit safer this way.

To the original question, I'd say simplicity and honesty in dealing with entering and leaving a country are phenomenal assets. The biggest deterrent will be security. Take a look on these forums for the word pirate. Once a single act of "piracy" (which is often actually theft of stuff from a boat, and not true piracy) gets publicized, it's difficult for a place to recover its image.

Security is the biggest issue in my mind. Once people get a sense from the Internet that someplace isn't secure, they will avoid it. I usually enjoy those places, and like going to places others avoid.

Free wifi, and nice amenities are cool, but I'd let the market sort that out.
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:39   #9
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

They should probably take some training from casino and cruise ship operators.

Those hospitality industries know how to keep the customers happy and coming back to spend more money.

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Old 20-09-2012, 14:40   #10
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

I agree with Mimsy and terminalcitygrl: the most important point is to reduce red tape and make visitors feel welcome.

I would also suggest:
- Have reliable lighthouses, beacons/daymarks and buoys.
- Make sure that nautical charts and sailing directions are up to date and available through online sellers.
- Teach some English language to Customs/Immigration/police officers and harbormasters
- Explain to local fishermen that yachtspeople have a right to exist and are not to be rammed/intimidated.

IMO, marinas are not the most urgent aspect, provided there is some room for yachts in existing ports.

Alain
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:46   #11
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticGringo View Post
It's really hard to judge a whole country on one persons 2 week visit. I wouldn't give up on traveling to Russia just yet friend, there are some phenomenal places to visit.

It is common in parts of the world for military types to be wandering around... the Eiffel Tower is one prime example, I always see guys with machine guns cruising around. I feel a bit safer this way.

To the original question, I'd say simplicity and honesty in dealing with entering and leaving a country are phenomenal assets. The biggest deterrent will be security. Take a look on these forums for the word pirate. Once a single act of "piracy" (which is often actually theft of stuff from a boat, and not true piracy) gets publicized, it's difficult for a place to recover its image.

Security is the biggest issue in my mind. Once people get a sense from the Internet that someplace isn't secure, they will avoid it. I usually enjoy those places, and like going to places others avoid.

Free wifi, and nice amenities are cool, but I'd let the market sort that out.
This country does not have security or crime problems - one of its big plusses. But corruption unfortunately is a problem.
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Old 20-09-2012, 14:58   #12
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

And keep cruising permits modestly priced. A high fee is a barrier to entry, whether real or just perceived. (Like the Bahamas bumping my 31' boat from $150 to $300 -- damn it!) Get the cruisers there and then let them spend money locally. The goverment will wind up getting more in the long run that way, plus the cruisers will be happier.
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Old 20-09-2012, 15:06   #13
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

The facilities they do build need to be kept clean and in good order. In other words they need to be managed well.
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Old 20-09-2012, 15:21   #14
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

Say Dockhead,

After you are through with this gig, could you come to Australia and say those things again, please? What you describe in your first post sounds wonderful... and scarcely extant in any of the spots we commonly cruise.

Interestingly, the nearest I can think of is New Caledonia where they do a surprisingly good job af accommodating the hordes of transient yotties that pass through each year.

Good luck with your presentation.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 20-09-2012, 15:33   #15
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Re: How Should A Country Attract Yachtsmen?

If corruption is an issue then it has to be stopped and the country may have to give incentives for cruisers to begin going there. Having local amenities and offering repair services and or parts at reasonable prices would be a big boost as well. The goal should be to offer what the rest of the Med has overpriced and have excellent customer service.
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