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Florist’s profits bloom thanks to AC35

Cashing in: since the superyachts, such as the Albula, began arriving for America’s Cup, the island has seen an undeniable spike in business

At least one local florist is seeing revenues bloom from superyachts visiting for the America’s Cup.

Gita Blakeney Saltus of Flowers by GiMi, the exclusive florist for the America’s Cup superyacht programme, said the company has been working hard to service the luxury vessels in port for the international sailing event.

“Since the superyachts began arriving we have seen an undeniable spike in business and we’re proud of the way our team has stepped up to meet this challenge,” she said.

“I’m sure there are some small businesses benefiting from the large number of superyachts on the island right now.”

She said that the company has been seeing a “steady, incremental growth” in the provision of flowers for yachts visiting Bermuda, noting that they are already servicing yachts in St George’s, Hamilton, Caroline Bay and in Dockyard every week. “The range of sales vary and are robust,” she said. “We envision that as the America’s Cup continues to its culmination, more yachts will be embarking to be serviced, and undoubtedly we will see a further increase in flower sales.

“Our hope is that our leaders will create the right kind of environment post-America’s Cup that makes superyacht owners want to come back to Bermuda more frequently. If so, it would be extremely valuable to our flower business and the flower industry in Bermuda as a whole.”

Flowers are just one of several elements that the Bermuda Tourism Authority has said would benefit from superyachts visiting the island.

Statistics released by the BTA stated that an 80m to 90m superyacht spends approximately $50,000 a week, with the figure jumping to $127,000 a week if the owner is on board.

Meanwhile, the smallest superyachts, measuring between 30m and 40m, bring in a total of $7,000 to $18,000 a week of economic activity.

Responding to comments on The Royal Gazette’s website Kevin Dallas, the BTA CEO, said that the largest cost expenditure for the yachts would be fuel, but the money would benefit a range of Bermuda businesses.

“With guests, whether they be the owners or a charter, aboard the biggest categories of spend in declining order are fuel, shopping, food on board, berthing and then drinks on board,” he said. “Spending on entertainment, dockage, house keeping, crew provisioning, professional services and taxis is also significant. With only the crew on board, crew members themselves spend more — they have more time off — and the mix is a bit different. Overall, a boat is a worthwhile visitor, no matter what, but much more valuable with guests aboard.”

He said the BTA based their economic assessment on information from the Superyacht Intelligence Agency — a consultancy that specialises in superyachts.

“We commissioned a study from them on the potential economic impact of superyachts for Bermuda, not just for AC,” Mr Dallas said.

“The first phase of the research provided an overview of the superyacht global fleet using internal databases. Together with in-house data on cruising patterns, these form a comprehensive overview of the market to place the research of the report into context.

“The second phase, the analysis of operational expense data, was carried out using data from a large OPEX survey conducted by The Superyacht Intelligence Agency in 2014. This data was supplemented with OPEX data collected in other studies and the data collected in the survey conducted for our project. This information was then adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Bermuda. “In phase 3 they went out to their network of contacts in the industry to establish how Bermuda was viewed. This included an online survey of captains, crew members, owner representatives, yacht managers and charter managers to gain their opinions.”

He said the purpose of the survey was to help improve Bermuda’s standing as a superyacht destination, adding that the BTA also tasked with the consultancy to compile relevant case studies of similar legacy programmes in an effort to establish best practice.

“The case studies researched included Auckland, New Zealand, Sardinia and Virgin Gorda. The whole study will be published as soon as it’s final. Meanwhile, I’m happy to draw from the preliminary findings.”