Leisure marine or yachting is seen as a sub-sector within maritime and it is economically viable given Trinidad and Tobago’s strategic geographic location below the hurricane belt for storage purposes and the availability of first class yacht repair and maintenance services.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the leisure marine sector is defined as the complex interrelationship between and among physical yachting infrastructure; the cluster of services related to repairs, maintenance, storage and ancillary services; and tourism related services. In this regard, yachting can be viewed as multi-sectoral since it draws on inputs from various economic sectors.
At present, there are approximately 180 companies throughout Trinidad that cater to the yachting industry and with approximately 140 companies located in Chaguaramas. Altogether there are eight boatyards/marinas that provide approximately 470 in-water berths, as well as accommodation for approximately 1000 yachts on land. The sub-sector is export oriented with over seventy to eighty per cent of its sales going to transient yachts.
There are a range of services that are offered by the Yachting Industry. These include:
- Repairs and Maintenance – Fibreglass work; welding; woodwork; upholstery services, sail making, electronics and electrical work, painting and rigging.
- Marina Services – Hospitality services; haul-out facilities; storage facilities and dock spaces
- Other Services – Retails shops; travel agencies and yacht brokerage
In terms of employment, approximately seventeen hundred (1,700) persons are employed full-time. Based on a 2013 Economic Impact Assessment, it is estimated that the yachting sector contributes approximately TT$30 million annually to the economy.
SUPPORT FOR THE SECTOR
Yachting Policy of Trinidad and Tobago, 2017-2021
The Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with both the private and public sectors has prepared a Yachting Policy, 2017 – 2021. Overall, the goal of the Policy is to improve the economic contribution of the yachting industry through increased foreign exchange earnings, increased employment and more business activity in the form of yachting related services. The specific objectives of the policy are to:
- Improve and expand Trinidad and Tobago’s yachting product;
- Reform and strengthen the legal and regulatory framework;
- Improve the human resource and technical capacity in the yachting industry; and
- Improve the environmental and social sustainability of the yachting industry.
Some major industry development incentives are as follows:
a) Under the Corporate Tax Act any company which promotes or sponsors yachting will be allowed as a deduction, in ascertaining the chargeable profits of the company for that year of income an allowance equal to 150% of the actual expenditure incurred in respect of such promotion or sponsorship, up to a maximum of $450,000.
b) The Tourism Development Act allows for a tax exemption for a maximum of 7 years on
(i) the gains and profits from an approved tourism project;
(ii) accelerated depreciation on depreciable equipment used in an approved tourism project; and
(iii) a capital allowance in respect of approved capital expenditure where an approved tourism project results in the creation of a new tourism project or expansion of an existing tourism project.The Act also provides for a permit for the importation or entry into Trinidad and Tobago free of customs duty of such building materials which are not already duty free and of such articles of tourism equipment for projects including marinas, boatyards, dive operations, water sports, charter boats, cruise activities and tour operations by sea.
Import Duty Concessions
The Customs & Excise Act provides investors full exemption from Customs Duties on imports of boats, boats and navigation equipment, marine engines, machinery and raw materials in the tourism sector.
Purchase of Land & Shareholding In A Company
The Foreign Investment Act allows a foreign investor to purchase land not exceeding one acre for residential purposes and five acres for commercial purposes. In addition, a foreign investor is allowed to purchase up to 30 percent of the cumulative shareholding in a public company.
Standing Committee for the Development of the Maritime Sector
of Trinidad and Tobago
A Standing Committee for the Development of the Maritime Sector of Trinidad and Tobago was established by the Cabinet in 2016 with a mandate to direct the development and implementation of initiatives for the expansion of the Maritime Sector. This Committee is comprised of high-level representatives from the relevant Ministries and GoRTT’s regulatory agencies, as well as the Private Sector. One of the key areas of focus under this Standing Committee is the development of the Yachting sub-sector.
Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT)
YSATT is a non-profit organisation that works with the Government to facilitate the development of the yachting industry. YSATT represents the private sector interests of the industry by interacting with cruisers and industry businesses (members) on a daily basis to address any issues which may arise. As a non-profit organisation, YSATT receives a monthly subvention from the Tourism Development Company (TDC) to operate a Tourist Information Centre in the YSATT office in Chaguaramas which is extremely helpful to cruisers who visit the island.
1. Trinidad and Tobago’s Yachting Industry
2. Trinidad and Tobago’s Boater’s Directory 2015/2016
3. Cruising Guide to Trinidad and Tobago by Chris Doyle