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Sri Lanka...the Next Sailing Destination in Asia?

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Continuing efforts are underway to make “Sri Lanka the next sailing destination in Asia” and “…a magnet for yachters and pleasure sailors worldwide”, reports Priyantha Perera of Asia Pacific Superyachts Sri Lanka.

The APS yacht services agent shares the following article written by the editor and published in NewsIn.Asia and includes additional port news.

Even though Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, is privileged to have scenic landscapes, rainforest inland and a high biodiversity of ocean mammals offshore, sailing for pleasure is not a traditional pastime of the Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka has not been considered a worthy stop for yachts due to the lack of a fully-fledged marina in the country.

While many proposals and suggestions had floated the need to develop marinas adjacent to domestic harbours on the Southern and Western coasts of Sri Lanka, including the development of Galle Marine and a repair and maintenance centre for yachts, the project is yet to take off.

SriLanka MY Queen Milly Galle

M/Y Queen Miri berthed in Port Galle, the principal port of entry to Sri Lanka.  

In the meantime, a series of public and private sector partnerships in Mirissa and Marawila are seeking to create a breakthrough in the country’s luxury boat building, repair and berthing industry.

The first attempt at introducing luxury yacht building, maintenance and berthing in Sri Lanka was made by Belgian Entrepreneur and industrialist Pierre Pringiers. Thirty-five years and an annual revenue of USD 1 billion later Pringiers is turning his interest towards making Sri Lanka a magnet for yachters and pleasure sailors worldwide. With annual tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka well over 2 million, Pringiers feels that a nudge from the public and private sectors could make Sri Lanka the next sailing destination in Asia.

Highlighting the need to offer a unique destination experience at every location in Sri Lanka, a group of innovative industrialists are seeking to claim a niche among high spending tourists who enjoy yachting and the associated lifestyle.

SriLanka Sunrise Millabedda

A view of the sunrise from Millabedda in the interior. 

While Sri Lanka is yet to establish a single full-size marina offering a complete range of service to yachters and pleasure sailors, Malaysia operates marinas with a berthing count of 1400 yachts, Thailand 1300 yachts and Singapore with only one-fifth of Sri Lanka’s coastal size can hold up to 750 yachts.

An unwavering faith in a possible boom in the yachting industry driven by the growing tourism sector has seen the rise of a number of luxury yacht building facilities in Sri Lanka. A few companies are in full operation designing and building yachts, masts, sails, yards, cordage, electrical components, mini marines and moorings. A technical school in the south is training youth from fishing villages to build yachts, in electrical engineering, and in engine repairs and maintenance while another academy trains them in sailing skills and ocean conservation.

SriLanka M.Y. Talisman C moored APS 002

M/Y Talisman C visited Sri Lanka on a tour of South East Asia and is pictured here in the Maldives. Credit to APS Maldives.

Following in the footsteps of Pierre Pringiers, more boat makers and adventure sports enthusiasts like Neil Marine of Accolade Ventures and German investor Dr Dietmar Doering of Asia-German Sports Exchange program are also investing heavily in yacht and marine development to promote leisure sailing and yacht berthing on the coasts of Sri Lanka and to develop the local and regional economy through this growth.

Priyantha Perara reports that Sri Lanka is a useful stop for yachts en route to the Red Sea and a good point of departure for cruising the Maldives, Chagos and Seychelles, sharing the following news: “Whilst the northern parts of the country were out of bounds for many years, Trincomalee on the NE coast has now opened up to cruising yachts. Special permission must still be obtained before travelling to other northern states. Colombo, on the central west coast of Sri Lanka, has a large commercial harbour with little provision for yachts and formalities are complex.”

SriLanka stilts fishermen

Fishermen using traditional methods supported on wooden stilts.

“Refuelling and provisioning at the old port of Galle (on the SW corner of Sri Lanka) is straightforward and this is where most yachts clear-in and conditions for visiting yachts have improved slightly. Whilst Trincomalee is a military port and therefore unfamiliar with pleasure boat clearance, it is a port of entry and cruising boats have successfully cleared into Sri Lanka here. Delays may be possible however due to officials being more familiar with commercial vessels.”

An agent is required to clear into and out of Sri Lanka and basically organise everything. For more information and a custom itinerary contact APS Sri Lanka at: priyantha@asia-pacific-superyachts.com


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