An international recovery is underway led by the Caribbean, which could see bareboat activity reach 2001 peaks within two years if the markets continue to grow at a rate of 6-8%.
While the average size of a bareboat fleet has been reduced by 8% over the last two years, there has been a 50% increase in charter customers since 2001 which now represents $75 million in annual turnover.
However, it is the Caribbean and principally the Virgin Islands, which lead this recovery with a 6% gain since 2001, and remarkably this means it has captured an additional 3% of the international marketplace at the expense of the United States, Europe and other areas. It now owns 56% of the international bareboat arena.
In fact, the Caribbean has for the first time exceeded the historic highs of 2001 and looks set to grow by an additional 6-8% next year.
The Virgin Islands in particular, outstrip its closest rival, The Pacific NW/California, by nearly 60%. Together these two areas account for nearly 80% of international bareboat charters.
Again, the bulk of international customers are choosing to take their sailing vacations during the summer months with 2005 activity now outstripping 2004.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for the United States, which has still seen a healthy 4%, increase in bareboat activity.
But it increasingly looks like some of their traditional customers are heading to The British Virgin Islands.
It is worth noting that its strongest lynchpin, the Pacific NW/California, while edging up, is still 13% off 2001 levels and actually recorded a slight drop over 2004 levels. It is starting to look like the poor cousin of the BVI!
A dark horse in the international marketplace is Europe, which is the only region to show positive gains each year since 2001 quietly posting a 60% increase in bareboat activity. However, it still represents only a fraction of the international pie.
Mexico also shows modest gains but is slightly off the pace of 2004.
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