CASTRIES, St Lucia — The opportunity for a billion-dollar yachting sector partnership is being explored by the governments of Saint Lucia and Taiwan.
During the recent state visit to the island by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Tourism Lorne Theophilus encouraged the Taiwanese to use Saint Lucia as a hub to market yachts built in Taiwan – the world`s fourth largest producer of mega yachts.
In his speech at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Taiwanese president to discuss tourism related issues, Theophilus disclosed that the government of Saint Lucia will offer incentives for the registration and berthing of yachts manufactured in Taiwan.
“As part of our tourism product, Saint Lucia is quickly becoming prominent as a haven for mega yachts and yacht related activities as we host a minimum of four internationally recognised yachting events and are poised to increase this number to include a Mega Yacht Regatta in 2014.
“Taiwan is world renowned as a yacht building nation amongst other things and we believe that while we can learn from you in terms of your yacht building and maintenance techniques which are vital for the provision of the ancillary services related to the ever growing yachting sector that Taiwan can also benefit from our increased presence in the world market as a yacht haven and use Saint Lucia as a hub to market yachts built in Taiwan.
“We propose further that we can offer an incentive registration and berthing of yachts purchased from Taiwan amongst a variety of other initiatives which include joint marketing that will result in fiscal benefits for both of us,” Theophilus said.
In preparation to maximise the potential benefits from the billion-dollar yachting sector partnership, the government of Saint Lucia has moved to legislate the set up of a Yachting Registration Desk.
Steps are also afoot for the establishment of maritime training programmes at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.
For its part, the Taiwanese government has welcomed the proposed collaboration and pledged its support to ensure mutual benefit for both countries.