Opening the APS Seychelles agency
Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) announced the formation of the new APS Seychelles agency in 2022. General manager, Peter Alvis, talks shopQ: What brought you to the industry and specifically the Seychelles?
A: My career over the past 11 years has been in the luxury hospitality sector for internationally world-renowned and Forbes-listed hotels. I was first introduced to the superyacht industry when I did the pre-opening of a five star rated marina hotel in the Seychelles as their operations manager. We liaised a lot with the crew and owners of superyachts to ensure their stay in the Seychelles was a fond and memorable experience. We worked closely with the agents of the superyachts to deliver an unparalleled level of service. Not long after, I was approached for my current role – working alongside directors who have over 45 years in the shipping, superyacht and fishing industries and were the first port agents in the Seychelles.
Q: What were your tasks when you started working in the industry? Describe how your responsibilities have grown over the past decade and your position and responsibilities now.
A: When I first took on the role I was adamant about learning the ropes from scratch to understand the entire guest process from arrival to departure. In this profession, knowledge really is power so understanding all the laws, regulations and processes is of vital importance when undertaking tasks in the most efficient of fashions. My dealings with high-end hotel clientele allowed me to best prepare for the quick thinking nature of the role as well as having multiple plans in place should clients choose to change their minds at any point during their stay. As I always say “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”, so myself and the team do all the groundwork in terms of logistics and execution.
The large array of business activities in our portfolio has exposed me to many specialists, such as customs clearance experts, marina experts, shipping logistic experts as well as captains of catamarans, sailing yachts and superyachts. Having such large resources at our disposal allows us to best facilitate all captains, crew and owners whilst delivering a hospitality flare in the midst.
Q: What changes in the Seychelles have had the biggest impact on the marina scene and visiting yachts?
A: The Seychelles saw a 71.6% increase in the arrival of yachts in 2021 compared to 2020, when the island nation was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first and second quarter of 2022, 59 yachts arrived with a projected 80 by the end of the year. On average, 20 yachts each year are superyachts, each with a unique set of requirements, plans and itineraries.
Seamless entry, with the typical arrival process itself taking as little as half an hour for a vessel to be cleared in (provided all documents are in order) and no visas required to enter the Seychelles showcases our country’s efforts to welcome all visitors with open arms. You can then cruise the full 1,100km [680mi] from Mahé to the Aldabra Atoll (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), whilst popping up in the other 114 islands without having to go through another immigration check.
Good moorings and easy sailing distances between the main islands facilitate the discovery of a wide selection of islands and secluded bays. The pristine atolls and virgin waters of the ‘Outer Islands’ also offer a last frontier of adventure, together with extraordinary opportunities for snorkeling, diving, fishing and once-in-a-lifetime exploration.
Q: Compare the number of visiting superyachts in the last 15 years. How has service to superyachts changed from earlier years?
A: Customer services have been greatly enhanced over the years with businesses realising the importance of ensuring customer satisfaction. The increasing presence of provisioning companies, marine equipment specialist shops, as well as more governing bodies and entities, has ensured consistency in recent years and has meant that we are slowly moving away from the “island time mindset” of a decade or so ago.
With many specialist shops, visiting yachts have to rely less on the import of specialist goods and, on the occasion that they do, there are now services that ensure prompt collections and delivery.
Q: How closely do you work with suppliers and marinas? How do they help and support visiting vessels during their arrival, stay and departure?
A: Asia Pacific Superyacht Seychelles operates under the Hunt Deltel & Co Ltd Seychelles Business portfolio. Hunt Deltel & Co is the co-developer and operator of the Eden Island Marina so we work quite closely with the Eden team to ensure that vessels calling under our agency are well looked after during their stay. Having operated in the country for the past 82 years, the company has strong relationships with a wide range of suppliers locally as well as internationally. Our procurement and accounting team work tirelessly to ensure that all payments are made in a very prompt fashion allowing for the further strengthening of those relationships.
Q: Do you see government regulations changing soon? Will there be changes to better welcome yachts and make access, stay and departure easier for visitors? How will these changes help owners, captains and crew?
A: Slowly but surely, governing bodies and authorities are working with us and other stakeholders to fully understand the requests of our clients, and we are actively working to separate this particular sector of the maritime industry and create a clear differentiation between this and any other type of yachting within the Seychelles or for that matter the maritime industry. The arrival process has been simplified, with plans to go digital similar to visitors arriving by air.
The government has realised that there is more potential in this industry and, as such, is encouraging marina development. Earlier this year, the government announced plans for the construction of a new marina on Praslin that will solve the lack of berthing that Seychelles’ second most populated island currently faces.
At the moment, yachts are given a three month cruise ship licence for chartering, with the possibility to extend for an additional three months. After that, charter is no longer permitted. We are working actively with government authorities to have this restriction removed, allowing for year-round charter if required. This was originally put in place to protect the local market, but quite simply nothing exists locally in comparison.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We are working hard with all governing bodies to attract business by streamlining all activities as much as possible. To facilitate the government’s efforts, our team at APS Seychelles is drafting out Standard Operating Procedures to have fully endorsed by the government to ensure consistency throughout our field.
We are aiming to deliver a bespoke service to our clients by providing the small extra touches. After all, life is meant to be lived for all the small moments not just the grand ones. Currently our market has tended to be seasonal during the European winter, but we are one of the few superyacht destinations that could be and should be year-long.