The sale of Island Global Yachting LCC (see last Thursday’s paper) is important news. The company known as IGY Marinas operates Yacht Club Isle de Sol and Simpson Bay Marina but also has interests in Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas and St. Lucia, making it a significant player in both the local and regional yachting business.
The amount of US $480 million cash plus another potential $100 million after two years says enough about the value of its 23 marine assets worldwide. This purchase also indicates confidence in the sector’s future earnings to make the investment worthwhile.
As a destination, the main thing is to continue delivering top service to boatowners, visiting crews and charter guests. While the island has already built a name as such, others are hardly sitting still and staying competitive is essential going forward.
That requires special attention, as stated by industry veteran Robbie Ferron in a letter to the editor at the start of this month titled “Yachting is not stayover.” He argued that the marine trade, which represents some 15% of the economy, requires a vastly different approach than that for land-based and cruise tourism.
Decision-makers would do well to examine his ideas, including a separate entity to market the yachting sector. That does not have to mean side-lining the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau but could also involve creating an autonomous body with own funding to do the job under its supervision.
In other words, let professionals in the field call the spending shots to help ensure St. Maarten remains a leading yachting destination in every sense. Keep in mind that what is good can always get better,