UNITED STATES, VIRGIN ISLANDS - Yacht charter owners are experiencing an increase in tourism due to their unique vacation offering in a “safe” socially distanced way. Pre-pandemic the global yacht charter market was showing steady growth, valued at $10.91 billion in 2019. After experiencing a major dip in tourism numbers during the pandemic, statistics show the market is already making a quick recovery within 2021 and 2022; the expectation is to bounce back with a compound annual growth rate of 25.6% during the forecast period from 2020 to 2028.
Sail LUNA is a 45 foot, 2019 Lagoon 450S catamaran offering one-of-a-kind, private Caribbean yacht charters in the United States Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Owned and operated by husband and wife duo Nim and Fabiola Hirschorn, Sail LUNA provides bespoke all-inclusive vacations, providing travelers with the peace of mind needed in a post-pandemic travel environment. Captain Nim Hirschhorn, a US Coast Guard-certified captain and experienced PADI Divemaster, and First Mate/Chef Fabiola Hirschhorn, have noticed an uptick in inquiries and bookings since November 2021.
“What we’re seeing is that more and more people are planning for a vacation that is all-inclusive and private. Charter yacht vacations allow guests to relax in a safe and controlled environment. Guests can choose who they holiday with and they have the flexibility of socially distancing when they need to,” said Fabiola.
However, it’s not just privacy and seclusion that travelers are seeking. Nim and Fabiola have also noticed a few other anomalies.
“Our clients are looking for experiences rather than just a typical vacation. For example, we have had several reservations from families with older children. The parents have gifted the vacation to their kids as a present because they wanted to give the gift of time and memories, rather than material possessions,” stated Nim.
While chartering in the British Virgin Islands was more popular pre-pandemic, the Hirschorn’s are now receiving many inquiries for the Bahamas and the United States Virgin Islands.
“We believe that the main reason for this is that there are not many cases of COVID in the islands and they have relaxed and easy entry protocols. The USVI are also a US territory, therefore it’s a domestic flight from the US and as of the 7th March, visitors will no longer need to supply a negative Covid test to enter (you will need to be vaccinated). The entry protocol to the Bahamas is also and has been for much of the pandemic,” added Fabiola.
“Charter yacht vacations have always been a popular, however, now they seem more soughtafter than ever. LUNA is sold out for the current season that ends in July and the calendar is filling up fast for next season (Nov 2022 to July 2023). Fellow charter yachts are reporting similar results. In the early stages of the pandemic clients were booking last minute. Now we feel we are getting back to normal; this type of vacation is usually booked around 12 months in advance,” said Nim.