Special report

How yachting escaped the Covid crisis by offering a ticket out of the pandemic

Yacht Club de Monaco

In Monaco, the yachting industry is 1,561 employees, a 753 million euro turnover, and 252 different companies. While the unfavourable winds of the economic crisis brought about by Covid-19 spared no one, the yachting sector seems to be faring better than others.  


According to the latest numbers from the Sybass Report, the yachting industry has nothing to fear. Sales of yachts over 30 meters long were up at the beginning of 2020, compared to 2019. If sales slumped during lockdown, the sector picked itself up during the summer, and by October, the sales numbers equal those of 2019.

Renting has dropped…

“Fraser Yacht, along with the entire yachting industry, has seen a huge decline in the charter segment. The drop is about  30% and has affected the entire industry. It is not due to a lack of demand, but rather to a lack of destinations. However, we are seeing a fairly significant rebound in the winter period, particularly for the Caribbean,” says Raphael Sauleau, CEO of Fraser Yacht.

On the other hand, although charters have suffered from the crisis, short-term boat rental has nevertheless managed to make a good showing. This is the case for Click and Boat, the Airbnb of yachting, which has recorded 100% growth every year since its creation 7 years ago by founder Jérémy Bismuth. “If you look at our 2020 Monaco numbers, it’s hard to imagine that there’s been a crisis. There has been an obvious setback that has slowed our growth (+17% in 2020) but we cannot speak of a recession,” says Jérémy Bismuth.

…. but sales are up

On the sales side of things, things are looking up. “If lockdown brought sales to a halt, we saw a real rebound between June and the end of September: +30% in June, +40% in July, +50% in August, and +50% in September. All in all, if we smooth out the 2020 figures for the yachting industry as a whole, by the end of September we were at +5% compared to 2019,” says Raphael Sauleau.

Yachting offers an easy way to have a day out without putting one’s health at risk, which can explain such encouraging numbers.

The industry is shifting

As yacht designer Espen Oeino explained during a webinar organised by the Monaco Economic Board and the Yachting Monaco Cluster, yachts have become a ticket out of the pandemic. “During the first lockdown, two of our clients decided to set sail in order to escape the pandemic. Since then, some of our clients have been adapting the design of their yacht to their needs, for instance by imagining greater storage capacities for food and fuel oil. Others are even considering integrating a small hospital and classroom onboard to ensure greater autonomy,” he explains.

For those who can afford it, yachting offers a safe and reliable way of mitigating the effects of the pandemic. The industry has been able to keep its existing clientele and conquer new markets. Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, it undoubtedly has a bright future ahead.