Covid-19 has changed Hong Kong yacht buyers: Olivier Besson

Asia Yachting founder plans expansion to Singapore, Indonesia, after Covid

author icon By Ryan Swift | 19 April 2021

The boom in Hong Kong yacht sales that resulted from Covid-19 lockdowns may start to end this summer, says Olivier Besson, founder of Asia Yachting, one of Hong Kong’s most prolific yacht dealers. However, the former auto engineer turned yachtsman also thinks that more of the potential clients on his list will continue to buy boats, as they have learned to enjoy life more in Hong Kong and wish to travel a little less.

“What I see, in a clear way, is that a number of people are reconsidering the way they organise their life and travel in future,” said Besson. “A lot are telling me, ‘I used to be in a plane all the time. Now it is not that necessary, and it is not the life I want.’”

Dealers throughout Hong Kong reported excellent yacht sales during the second half of 2020 and the early months of 2021, as buyers sought refuge from Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Asia Yachting has sold some of the largest yachts in the Prestige range in recent months.

As vaccines continue to roll out through Hong Kong, potential buyers may opt to head overseas again for their time on the water.

But the experience of spending lockdown time in Hong Kong has left yacht owners and prospective owners more eager to spend time in Hong Kong, reports Besson. “I’m realistically optimistic that people (in Hong Kong) are changing their habits, and basically, this boom from Covid helps more people discover that boating is nice in Hong Kong.”

Asia Yachting is the dealer for Prestige Yachts and Monte Carlo Yachts. In Hong Kong, Asia Yachting has the dealership for Fountaine Pajot’s line of motor catamarans, while in the Philippines, it has both motor and sailing catamarans.

Fountaine Pajot is a well known French name in catamarans. It was founded in 1976 by a group of competitive sailors and has become known for eco-friendly features.

 

Besson also reports that the Philippines and Thailand, both markets in which Asia Yachting is well represented, have been enjoying solid brokerage sales of late. The Philippines in particular is becoming a market for local buyers keen on brokerage boats in Hong Kong. Thailand’s market is still dominated by foreign buyers living in Thailand.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, Besson plans to open an office in Singapore. Before lockdowns hit, he says he was also actively exploring an office in Indonesia. “It will be one of the first things I look at when we can travel again.”

www.asiayachting.net