There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world to its core. Almost every sector has been affected, with the yacht charter industry no exception. International travel dropped by 70% for the first eight months of 2020 as many travellers were simply unable or unwilling to go abroad. As a consequence, the yacht charter industry saw a stark decline in charters due to restrictive government safety guidelines and protocols. Luckily, through a very active marketing campaign to incentivise yacht charters “close to home”, the season was saved and several clients chartered yachts within their national regions. Many Americans chartered in the Bahamas or New England and Europeans chartered throughout the Mediterranean, rediscovering their native coastlines and ports.
In 2021, with vaccine rollouts providing a positive light at the end of the tunnel, we are realising that although life will not immediately return to normal this summer, there is a high chance that many people will be able to escape for a long-awaited holiday in the sun. Thankfully, the impacts of the pandemic on global health are gradually being addressed, but many of the social habits forcibly trained into us through months of distancing rules and lockdowns will be hard to shake off overnight. A change to these social habits, combined with frequently evolving travel restrictions and testing requirements will likely result in many people again looking closer to home when making their holiday travel plans.
In reaction to this, the yacht charter industry has implemented a series of safety protocols to address the risks posed by the pandemic. These include increased sanitisation of yachts, increased ventilation in interior spaces, daily temperature checks and mandatory COVID PCR testing for guests and crew before every charter. All precautions that reduce the risks posed by the pandemic are being taken to ensure guests can still enjoy the freedom and relaxation that a yachting holiday offers this summer.
As much as we yearn for the social interactions we have missed for over a year, many people will be hesitant to join the crowded summer hubs such as the Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera. A yacht charter is well suited to meet these requirements as it offers the autonomy for guests to visit more remote and pristine coastlines away from the crowds, whilst still being accommodated in the luxury environment of a crewed yacht. Visiting the main ports of attraction such as St. Tropez and Porto Cervo will always be popular destinations on a yacht charter itinerary, but they will likely be balanced by guests preferring to access more secluded coastlines. This decision is by no means a compromise. It could be just the right moment to visit more tranquil locations in the Mediterranean that are all easily accessible by sea.
Travelling down the East Coast of Corsica can take you to Saint Florent, a charming fishing commune founded by the Romans, Castagniccia with its chestnut forests and Roman chapels, or the rugged Col de Bavella hills where you can enjoy a hike amongst the unspoiled and wild beauty. In the Americas, destinations such as Alaska provide a unique experience with picturesque landscapes and abundant wildlife, all the while remaining within American waters.
Yachting has always offered the perfect opportunity to reunite and reconnect with those closest to you, a factor which is particularly important in current times. Following the limits that have been placed on meeting and socialising, yacht charter holidays will provide a welcome escape where long-missed friends and family can be together in a private and luxury setting.
One of the great aspects of a yachting holiday is that each individual is able to fully personalise their leisure time and try new things. This means that guests can be as active or relaxed as they wish, with a whole host of activities such as tennis lessons, water sports, yoga classes, spa treatments, wine tasting, historical tours, scuba diving and horse riding to name a few. For that reason alone, this type of vacation has always been a popular choice, but in a time when opportunities for new experiences and explorative travel are few and far between, a yacht charter holiday this summer truly stands out from the rest.