Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef celebrates 21 years of leading service in Cairns

As a non-profit group that formed to meet the needs of superyachts, crew and local businesses, the Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR) is celebrating 21 years of bringing the world’s biggest and best boats to Cairns with a 21st birthday dock party.

The multi-million-dollar superyacht industry in Cairns began in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with both Ley James and Stewart Smith. Ley James, a life member of SYGGBR and former director of the International Superyacht Society, had experience in yacht refit with Stewart Smith before establishing the group to support the yacht industry in Cairns.

Ley James, founding member of Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef, commented, “There were a number of groups around the country becoming interested in superyachts and looking at forming groups, but it was going round and round in circles. I said ‘if you don’t get your act together, I’ll go home and do it myself’, which I did. We formed the group (in Cairns) and we’re still the largest group of that type in Australia. We established Cairns as the South Pacific superyacht hub.”

Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef Party.

Already contributing $159 million (c. €137 million) to the local economy and supporting more than 240 jobs, Cairns is one of the most visited superyacht ports in Australia with vessels staying on average 46 days. Australia has relaxed rules for foreign-flagged charters, offered more anchorages on the Great Barrier Reef and developed a new cruising itinerary from Cairns to Tasmania, paving the way for more visits, longer stays and a booming superyacht economy.

Joanne Drake, group manager at Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef, said, “We have the only place where two World Heritage sites meet, the chance for unimaginable cultural immersion, mind-blowing diving and snorkelling sites, the world’s oldest rainforest and every piece of infrastructure you could need. The tropical lifestyle and outstanding local attitude, combined with not having to deal with peak hour traffic, ensures this region is genuinely appreciated by all yachts that visit and most often, they extend their stay.”

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