Luxury yacht market sees gains in India


India's market for luxury boats and yachts has grown by about 10 percent in the last three years, a period signified by the slowest economic growth in decades.

Phiroze Contractor, managing director of Ava Marines, a yacht dealer and an operations and maintenance provider to boats and yachts, says the city of Chennai alone accounted for five inquiries in the last four months, according to the (India) Economic Times. There were none last year.

Joy Alukkas, owner of India's largest jewelry chain, was in the market until recently to buy a 36-foot cruiser, but postponed the plans as he shifted base to Dubai, the Economic Times said. He is now buying a seven-seater plane for $10 million.

His competitor, Josco Jewellers, and Kerala-based tea plantations company AVT group, purchased 36-foot yachts in the last 18 months.

"We are planning to purchase one yacht of anywhere between 80 feet to 100 feet for 30 crore from UK's Sunseeker," Ajit Kelachandra, owner of real estate-to-hotel chains Kelachandra group, told the Economic Times. "This is more as a luxury for our family and to entertain our guests from Europe and the United States.”

Thirty crore is equal to about $5.27 million.

Anju Dutta, of Marine Solutions, a boat and yacht seller, says she in the final stages of the sale of a 55-foot yacht to two real estate developers from Hyderabad. The two realty players are jointly purchasing the yacht to sail in Goa, where they have purchased new homes.

Yet it's not all smooth waters for the niche segment. Dutta, of Marine Solutions, says a customs duty hike from 20 percent to 48 percent in the last budget has pushed up the cost of yachts by 30 percent.

A lack of marinas to park the boats and yachts, and heavy surveillance after the recent terrorist attacks, have created hurdles for boating enthusiasts, as coast guards repeatedly check them.

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