INTERVIEW WITH THE CEO OF INTERYACHTING
How and when was your relationship with the sea established?
My relationship with the sea started from the day I was born, following the family love. From the age of 5 years old I was a sailing athlete at the Famagusta Nautical Club in the Optimist category and then in the 470Olympic category. Even today, I am still involved in racing sailing with large vessels.
What made you decide to pursue a profession related to the sea and vessels?
Basically, apart from my love for the sea, which is a way of life, my knowledge and the experiences I had as well as the lack of services in the yachting sector, prompted me, after finishing my studies and returning to Cyprus in 1996, to create the Interyachting company with other sailing friends. At that time, very few people were involved with the sea and many friends and acquaintances wanted to get involved with it, but there was no way. We started with a sailing/boating school and with vessel sales. Then we moved on to charters, one thing led to another and we expanded into other activities and services in the industry.
What is it that excites you most about your profession?
I am fascinated to see the happiness and pleasure that the sea gives to people as a result of the high level of services we offer. The joy of buying and delivering a new vessel or the pleasure of chartering one.
What has been your professional career in the boating industry so far?
I have been involved in yachting professionally for the last 26 years. More specifically in sales with dealerships of new and used vessels. INTERYACHTING LTD is one of the first yachting companies in Cyprus. It covers all aspects of yachting. On vessel sales, we are the dealers of BAVARIA YACHTS, NAUTITECH CATAMARANS, FOUNTAINE PAJOT and HIGHFIELD BOATS. In the last year we started the construction of AQUA boats, offering two modern 6 and 9 meter speedboats with boat charters in Cyprus and abroad. We also have a School of navigation and sailing, we provide Yacht management services, and daily Catamaran cruises in Protaras and Corfu.
What is your best and worst experience with a vessel?
At sea I could not say I had a bad experience. There may have been moments of bad conditions or minor incidents, but looking back they all became experiences and lessons learned and in the end, stories that are great. One of the best experiences is my participation in sailing competitions, the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, participation in international and Mediterranean races, World and European Championships that gave me the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world, with different weather conditions.
Before 2008, few people believed in the booming of Yachting sector in Cyprus. Do you think this growth will continue in the future?
Yes, I certainly believe that this growth will continue, as more and more people choose the sea. Also, the offer of more mooring positions and the fact that foreigners are moving permanently to the island, definitely helps the growth.
In your opinion, what are the biggest problems facing the Yachting sector in Cyprus and what could be changed?
There will always be problems, especially in a rapidly growing industry. In general, I notice that there is a lack of maritime education, a lack of knowledge of how to do projects on the coast to help sea lovers. Generally there is fear and scepticism. For example, no permits are given to individuals or companies to operate by offering services. Permits are not given to make docks, ramps or small harbours to help vessels. A classic example is Croatia, where they gave permits and facilities to private individuals and at the moment it is one of the most famous destinations in the world. Also in America they give permits to create reefs and docks. We definitely need to create legislation on yachting and create a proper framework. Also there are shortages of skilled people such as engineers, electricians and crews.
We are already 2+ years into the pandemic. What are the main problems caused by the Coronavirus and what has changed in the way Yachting businesses operate?
Despite the well-known problems created by the pandemic, which affected the yachting sector as well, I notice that people’s behaviour has changed. I see that many people are spending money more easily, they are going on holidays and they are purchasing vessels. This increased demand, combined with the shortage of raw materials in various materials, has resulted in the delayed delivery of vessels.
Do you think that this period is more difficult than the 2013 crisis?
No, I think people are tired of the pandemic and are moving on to shopping, travelling and generally doing things that please them.
During the pandemic there was a 25% increase in superyacht orders. Do you think this action will continue? What do you think will change in the yachting industry?
The whole industry is seeing interest and increases in orders. It is not only in Superyachts that we are seeing this increase and I really believe that this action will continue. My concern is with the shortages of raw materials and delays in ship-yard deliveries.
Interviewed by Cyprus Yachting Magazine.