Northrop & Johnson hosted a successful tandem FAM (familiarization trip) in Australia on board two of its premier charter yachts, SAHANA and SPIRIT, in March 2017.

Australian superyacht and tourism heavyweights have recently rolled out the red carpet for some of the world’s most influential charter brokers to experience the wonders of Down Under.

With the support of Tourism Australia and Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia, Northrop & Johnson Australia, which manages the nation’s largest superyacht charter fleet, staged an eight-day (FAM) trip that invited key international industry figures to experience two of the country’s most iconic superyacht cruising destinations.

Charter brokers from London, Monaco, Russia, New York, Florida and New Zealand spent four days exploring Sydney on board 120-foot (36.6m) luxury superyacht SAHANA, and then were introduced to the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef aboard the super sleek 115-foot (35m) motor yacht SPIRIT.

Northrop & Johnson Australia managing director Cameron Bray said the trip familiarized international brokers with the world-class superyacht charter experience available in Australia.

“These people are based in some of the world’s wealthiest hubs. Their clientele comprises Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals who are adventurous and want to go further afield,” said Bray. “We were able to show them the diversity available for superyachts cruising in Australia; from the cosmopolitan experience in Sydney with superb shore-based highlights to the fishing, diving and exploration possible on the Reef.”

Bray said the experience was designed to mimic a luxury yacht charter to give the international brokers the confidence to send their clients to experience Australia with Northrop & Johnson.

“Most of them had never been to Australia; this was an opportunity to show them that we have exceptional yachts, highly professional crew and spectacular cruising grounds that meet the high expectations and demands of their clientele,” he said. “We can send them our photos and brochures all day, but if the brokers experience it first hand, they will have much more confidence in sending their clients.”

Tourism Australia global manager of experiences Karen Fitzgerald, who co-hosted a wine tasting aboard the SAHANA for the group, said that the ambitions of the superyacht charter industry in Australia aligned closely with its own efforts to attract more UHNW tourists Down Under.

“This is a relatively untapped sector of the tourist market for Australia, and certainly an area that has the potential to give us a competitive advantage against many of our competitor destinations,” said Fitzgerald. “What happens on board is obviously critical to the superyacht experience, but so too are the land-based experiences, which are such an important aspect of the itinerary. This is an area we see huge opportunity for Australian tourism and key to our thinking when putting together this FAM trip. It was great to involve one of our close partners, Ultimate Winery Experiences of Australia, whose premium collection of award-winning wineries offer the kind of uniquely Australian food and wine experiences in spectacular locations — we feel they resonate very strongly with the international superyacht customer.”

Superyacht Australia CEO MaryAnne Edwards said the trip eventually would have a knock-on effect for the industry’s extensive supply chain which employs thousands of people. “There is so much scope for growth in the superyacht charter industry here and it’s exciting to see initiatives such as this, bringing us closer to realizing this potential,” Edwards said.

Bray said early feedback from the participants was very encouraging, with some indicating they had clients who would be interested in taking an Australian superyacht charter. “All of them were incredibly impressed, particularly with the high quality and variety of cuisine on board our yachts and with how much there is to do down here,” he said.

Aside from cruising two of Australia’s most iconic charter destinations in absolute luxury, the group experienced high-end hotel accommodation, fine food, superb wine, and iconic leisure activities on and offshore.

In Sydney, the group explored the world-famous harbor and stunning Pittwater from the plush comfort of SAHANA; they also climbed the Harbour Bridge, took a sea plane flight and savored fine onshore dining in Palm Beach. Guests viewed ancient rock art on the guided Aboriginal Heritage Walk in spectacular Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and stopped in at Manly before jetting off to Far North Queensland for the next leg of the trip.

In Port Douglas, the group boarded SPIRIT and made way out to sea to enjoy snorkeling, diving and exploring the natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

The four-day reef jaunt included a stop at Lizard Island for water sports and exploration of the island’s 1000-hectare national park, pristine beaches and surrounding reefs.

Bray said Northrop & Johnson would monitor the impact of the FAM trip on its charter bookings; he hopes to make this a regular event to increase the awareness of chartering in the region.