Could you introduce yourself?

I have been both in the tourism industry since 1997 and in the yachting since 2000, also a naval architect and marine engineer with an MBA program as a post-graduate.

First started with the tourism industry in A+ travel agency in 1997, Istanbul, and dive into yachting via sailing school in 2000. I am the owner of Sofi Yacht Charter & Brokerage which has been existing since 2014 and deals with superyacht charters, sales brokerage, and new-build project management.

Sofi Yacht is also the Turkish Representative for Vision Marine Technologies (Canadian Electric Boat Company - CEBC) electric boat that’s the first unit of FANTAIL 217 sold and delivered two years ago. I am highly equipped with construction know-how, sales brokerage, superyacht charters, management, and company administration.

As you know with a growing emphasis on environmental sustainability yachting is affected by different topics every year. Which trends will we observe in yachting in 2024?

Environmental sustainability has been having a heavy effect on yachting in recent years and directing the current and prospective owners to more fuel-efficient (lower carbon footprint) and long-range yachts that are generally called trawler/expedition boats which generally have semi-displacement or displacement hulls. Besides, this effect is leading the industry to alternative powered solutions like hybrid, electric, hydrogen…

How will these trends impact the preferences and choices of buyers?

These trends obviously change the preferences and have more buyers preferring alternative-powered yachts. Especially the number of hybrid and electric boats getting bigger portion versus traditional diesel-engined vessels thanks to the developing transmission, battery, and charging technologies. I personally believe in an electric future and green energy in the yachting that means less harm to the natural environment.

How is the market situation in Turkiye nowadays? What do you expect the market will be in the next summer season?

I can reply to this question in four different categories.

New construction: Turkiye is again at the 3rd order in yacht build in the World and capacity still shows growth. We also globally observe that more people are becoming boat owners which could give continuity to this growth for a few more years as Turkish shipyards have trustable profiles, developed facilities, professional works, and big success with deliveries.

Refit and maintenance: Turkiye has been preferred by more and more superyacht owners and captains for the last few years thanks to easy and fast logistics, location, experienced man work, well-established facilities, and the entrance of new refit & maintenance areas like Oren, also the free circulation of Russian-owned superyachts has made a positive impact on this division. Besides, Turkiye offers many opportunities for the yacht crew to explore while they are in the area, I have heard from many non-Turkish yacht crews that Turkiye is the perfect place to stay for the maintenance/refit period! I believe that Turkiye will be staying as a strong refit & maintenance hub for the coming years.

2nd hand market and Brokerage: During the post-pandemic period, more people have become boat owners and the total number of boats in Turkiye has massively increased which gives the industry more options to the demand and gives opportunity to the people to find boats according to their lifestyle and preferences. On the other hand, we have been observing a contraction in the whole of Europe in the used boats as the prices are so high and the new build is back and offering reasonable prices compared to the used boats. Not only those but also the effects of the Israel war have been taking the prospective owners to move slower and check more deeply before deciding on a 2nd-hand boat. I believe that used-boats’ prices are to decrease in Turkiye which can encourage more non-Turkish buyers to look into the Turkish market to buy boats.

Please note that the growing number of superyachts brings more importance to yacht management and very glad to see that both Turkish-owned and more non-Turkish-owned superyachts have been managed by the Turkish Management companies.

Charters: Turkiye is holding its own position being a very strong charter hub offering one of the most beautiful coasts and beautiful turquoise waters in the World, having a quality products supply chain and experienced provisioning agencies, easy access and operation to re-fueling, safety in the riviera. Not only the reputation of traditional Gulet vessels but also the increasing number of superyachts, megayachts, and even a few gigayachts in the area offer more and richer yacht options to potential charterers to spend their holidays on. I have been also observing more non-Turkish-owned superyachts in Turkey for charter and attending the TYBA Yacht Charter Show generally held in May. If I come to 2024 summer, the number of charters can show an increase in Turkiye. However, there is a big challenge that untalented and non-known individuals (calling themselves “charter brokers!”) try to hunt potential charter clients so, I strongly suggest potential charterers and charter brokers secure charter bookings with known-charter companies and check them through TYBA (Yachting&Brokers Association), IMEAK-DTO (Chamber of Shipping) and YBA (Yacht Brokers Association).

Are there any different new and less-explored regions which will be more popular among yacht enthusiasts? in Turkiye or different destinations...

Yes, definitely!

Although the area between Bodrum-Fethiye is protecting its top place as the cruising area, Cesme and Antalya have been getting popular in recent years, especially for daily cruisers. Besides, I have been observing in whole cruising areas that the number of daily explore cruises is significantly increasing in parallel with the increasing number of luxury resorts and residences. We even started getting charter inquiries for Alanya and Mersin in the last 2-3 years where there are many nice coves and bays to enjoy, which shows us that people want to explore more and new rivieras.

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Out of Turkiye, Norway, Antarctica, Dubai, Seychelles, Maldives, Australian Coast, and the Pacific Islands are very interesting and getting more popular in recent years.