This summer vacation season, isolation was the en vogue luxury experience. Super-affluent families hoping for a lavish trip while skipping the COVID crowds have found the perfect solution: chartering a superyacht, where the only people present are themselves and any lucky guests they choose to allow on-deck (on top of the luxury vessel’s captain and fully staffed crew, of course).
And the latest hotspot that super-yachters have set a course for: the Aegean seas of Greece, which feature over 220 inhabited islands dotting an extensive coastline. Apparently, cruising the French Riviera is just so 2019.
My Big Yacht Greek Summer
Largely spared of the massive COVID spikes that struck Italy, France, and Spain, the birthplace of western philosophy opened its arms to tourists earlier in 2021 than most of its Mediterranean neighbors. Subsequently, foreigners have visited Greece at rates unseen since pre-pandemic times.
Over 6 million visitors have traveled to the country so far this year. Among those are the passengers of 834 superyachts that have entered Greek waters. And not only have these luxury aficionados shelled out for a top-of-the-line sailing experience, they also tend to keep spending as they island-hop:
- A true superyacht (measuring over 24 meters in length) can charter for anywhere between multiple tens of thousands of euros per week to several million. One of the most expensive, according to the Financial Times, is the Flying Fox, a 136-meter floating resort that can cost €3 million a week.
- According to a study by the Greek Marinas Association, visitors arriving by superyacht unsurprisingly drop five times more cash than the average Greek hotel guest, paying for everything from mooring fees to limousine services to €10,000 bar bills.
And it’s not just the superyacht chartering business that’s been super surging this summer. In the first half of 2021, 344 superyachts have been sold on the brokerage market — a number that far exceeds previous years.
Don’t Count Out Croatia: Greece isn’t the only coastal European country to cash in on post-pandemic restlessness. Eight months into 2021, overnight stays in Croatia have hit 69% of the record set in 2019. Not bad for a country whose visitors are more often found in sailboats than superyachts.