As the sun sets on the Mediterranean sailing season, the yachting industry is beginning to move its focus towards the other side of the Atlantic. This begins with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) at the end of October, which is a convenient place to gather prior to the start of the Caribbean yacht charter season.
With the weather regularly hitting 30 degrees Celsius during the northern hemisphere winter months, the Caribbean has traditionally been the place to visit for those looking for a warm weather escape. However, fashionable destinations change regularly, which is hardly surprising given the Caribbean offers so many islands to choose from, and one place which has seen a great deal of recent outside investment is the Bahamas.
Are the Bahamas therefore becoming a cool investment opportunity and holiday destination? There are many that believe this to be the case and are stressing that it could really develop into a yachting capital of the Caribbean over the next few years. This is due to the improvement in services seen recently in the region which, partnered with beautiful white sand beaches make for a first class destination.
Hein Velema is one person who believes this to be the case. As the Director of Sales and Marketing of Italian yacht manufacturer ISA Yachts, he is well placed to keep up with new trends in the luxury travel industry. He recently went on a trip to the region and had this to say about the Bahamas: “Traditionally the Bahamas are the preferred cruising destination for Florida based yachts. The Bahamas are known for the very clear waters and beautiful beaches, but also for the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Recently new investors from all over the world discovered the Bahamas and put huge developments in place to attract the high end of the market. We all know the amazing Atlantis resort, but now there is Baha Mar, an investment of 3.7 Billion Dollars financed by the Chinese. All of these new resorts will bring all the luxury brands and lifestyle to the Bahamas and will make it an even more attractive destination for yachts from all over the world.”
The Baha Mar, resort that Hein Velema mentions, is promoting itself as, ‘the new Riviera’ and clearly views the Bahamas as the place to be seen in the coming years. The facilities in Baha Mar and Atlantis are second to none and the range of activities can satisfy even the most demanding discerning traveller. With casinos, bars, luxury hotels, golf courses, spas and high-end retail stores, the Bahamas really are starting resemble a paradise version of the French Riviera.
The idyllic beaches that Hein also mentions should ensure that the islands will not lose any of the charm that drove investors there in the first place, but instead make a holiday there that little bit more comfortable. The new constructions offer visitors on luxury yachts a good reason to drop anchor in the Bahamas – particularly as they come with their very own marinas – and discover this little slice of paradise.
Photograph is courtesy of yacht photographer Mark OConnell. Follow this link to view his work.