Thailand To Open Charter To Foreign Flagged Superyachts

By George Bains

Thailand is set to become the latest country in the Asia Pacific region to open up to the charter of foreign flagged superyachts. It has been agreed that foreign-flagged vessels will no longer have to pay VAT on the value of their vessel when entering the country, and it is expected that an official announcement on charters will follow shortly.

Under the current arrangements, charters beginning in Thailand must terminate in another country, with many heading from Thailand to Langkawi, Malaysia. The proposed new legislation would allow superyachts to stay and enjoy the immaculate cruising grounds of Thailand, encouraging more owners to station their yachts in the country.

It should be noted, however, that VAT will not be lifted on charters themselves, with VAT and government applicable taxes payable based on the value of the charter.

Speaking on the exciting development, Asia Pacific Superyachts Phuket co-owners, Gordon Fernandes and Tanyuta Singhmanee (JoJo), report: “Thailand’s Customs and Revenue Department are working hard to get the charter license finalised. Positive meetings were held last week in Bangkok and we hope that legislation will be formalized and passed so that foreign-flagged yachts over 30m can charter legally within Thailand.”

There are still details of that are being worked on, and a statement from the Thai Yachting Business Association (TYBA) notes some of the considerations. “The permission to stay in Thailand for six months (renewable every six months for up to two years) is valid for ‘Pleasure Craft’, defined as a boat used for personal or sports recreation, not for commercial purpose unless there is an exemption in accordance with the Thai Vessel Act,” reads the TYBA statement. “It remains to be clarified whether it includes and refers to the Charter Licence, as well as the actual implementation on the charter VAT, foreign crew work permits and Visa.”

At present, yachts may apply to quarantine aboard in Thailand as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has granted permission for overseas yachts to check into Thailand. Gordon Fernandes has reported that superyachts have now successfully completed quarantine check ins, while Tanyuta Singhmanee (JoJo) confirms that the government will extend the STV (Long Stay Visa Program) for yachts and is working with officials on further reducing restrictions.

The opening of Thailand to foreign-flagged superyacht charter would be a significant boost to the industry in the country. As seen in other countries like Australia, relaxing charter legislation is swiftly followed by an increase in both numbers of visiting superyachts and length of stay. The legislation change strengthens the Asia Pacific region generally as a superyacht destination, ideal for adventurous charterers and owners looking to make the most of explorer yachts in particular.

"Positive meetings were held last week in Bangkok and we hope that legislation will be formalized."

Gordon Fernandes, co-founder Asia Pacific Superyachts

"Positive meetings were held last week in Bangkok and we hope that legislation will be formalized."

Gordon Fernandes, co-founder Asia Pacific Superyachts
By George Bains