New Zealand boatbuilders have signed 10 orders worth an estimated $500 million for superyachts in the past 11 months, as the top end of the boating market bounces back.
The uplift in demand followed a period of 14 months to September last year when the industry failed to secure a single order for a new superyacht, NZ Marine Industry executive director Peter Busfield said today.
He noted the turnaround in superyacht orders in a five-year strategic plan launched today. Under the plan the industry is aiming to grow 55 percent by 2015 -- from around $1.71 billion this year to $2.66b, with marine industry exports lifting from $720m to $1.11b.
The targets were based on a recovering market for large superyachts, new infrastructure in key ports around the country and several initiatives, including promotions during next year's Rugby World Cup, Mr Busfield said.
Large numbers of baby boomer retirees were also expected to mean an increase in recreational boating, both nationally and internationally.
Along with the rebound in superyacht orders, the number of large pleasure boats coming to this country for lucrative refits had seen a pronounced pick up.
Vital infrastructure now either complete or being built include two new 90-metre superyacht berths at the entrance to Westhaven marine. Athena, one of the world's largest aluminium pleasure boats, was now moored to one of those berths.
Other key developments were under way at Wynyard Point, Hobsonville and Gulf Harbour in Auckland and at Whangarei, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wellington, Marlborough, Nelson and Lyttelton, Mr Busfield said.
With the help of partners such as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, NZ Marine Export Group was planning an aggressive marketing campaign in key international markets.
That included high profile attendances at major international boat shows such as Fort Lauderdale and Monaco, and the wide distribution of the latest edition of the New Zealand Marine Export Guide.
NZMI was to promote widely a new Destination E Book, a digital guide for any vessel planning to visit this country.
Among sectors of the industry forecast to show strong growth, marine equipment sales were expected to reach $600m a year by 2015 and top more than $700m by 2020. Launches, yachts, power trailer boats and other marine services were also forecast to have substantial growth.
To help train workers in the industry, the NZ Marine industry training organisation was introducing a new on-line learning management system, called RudderLive, that would allow apprentices and trainees to study by accessing a website.
To develop the domestic base of the industry, NZMI was promoting boating in this country, through its new Discover Boating programme and the website discoverboating.co.nz.