Antalya promotes yacht building, while eyeing more
ANTALYA – Anadolu AgencyA total of 27 luxury sailing yachts were put to sea in Turkey’s touristic hub of Antalya in 2014.
Zeki Gürses, the general manager of Antalya Free Trade Zone Operator (ASBAŞ), said firms working inside the free trade zone had finished and handed over 27 luxury sailing yachts to their owners in 2014.
Gürses said the effects of the 2008 crisis have gradually decreased and the middle class have started to spend money again, with the yachts built last year having an average length of 17 meters.
“In 2008, when the U.S. went through a financial crisis, we faced a serious decline in short-length yacht orders; however, since last year, we have started to receive short-length yacht orders again,” Gürses said.
Gürses said two long yachts, measuring 60 meters and 63 meters-long respectively, will be put to sea this year. They are currently working on the safe launches of these large luxury yachts into the sea.
“We are trying to solve the infrastructure problems facing the smooth launch [of the two long yachts],” said Gürses, adding further that the building of each yacht took about three years.
Gürses said Turkey is currently in the third place in yacht construction, just behind the U.S. and the Netherlands.
Gürses said that yacht companies had orders for 90 yachts, 20 to 30 of which would be built by the end of the year.
Due to the lack of capacity in the Antalya Free Trade Zone, Gürses said that the zone is facing difficulties finding new companies. The Antalya Free Trade Zone hosts 110 companies, 57 of which are in the yacht sector.
Gürses said the free zone had 4,600 employees and hoped to increase this number to over 5,000 by the end 2015.
Noting that the Antalya Free Zone Operator did $833 million worth of business in 2014, Gürsel set a trade goal of $1 billion for this year.
“Despite the world’s alarming economic changes, we believe that we can achieve this number. Long yachts will be delivered in 2015 and because of their high sales figures, we estimate that they will contribute to our trade volume,” said Gürses.