Yes, I'm still at the Antigua charter yacht show (and will file another blog post here for you later today), but there is some breaking news in my e-mail inbox that I want to share with you immediately.
MYBA just issued a press release announcing its official disengagement from the Sint Maarten charter yacht show, an annual event whose gates closed just a few days ago. The news was expected within the charter industry (see this post from our sister website, BrokerageBoss, for more on that), but what has caught me by surprise this morning is the deep level of honesty in the press release that MYBA just issued.
Here it is, unedited, in its entirety:
The MYBA St Maarten Charter Show ended on Monday this week, after five very full days of yacht inspections, crew meetings, parties, yacht hops and the ever-popular Concours de Chefs. Due partly to the general economic downturn the show was not as well attended as in previous years, although the quality of the yachts on display was as high as ever. Lucille Frye and her team from the SMMTA did their usual first class job in organizing the busy schedule of events, and the feedback from agents and captains was generally positive.
Nevertheless this marks the end of MYBA’s involvement in the St Maarten Show. The MYBA Board gave notice at the beginning of this year of the Association’s wish to terminate what has been a contentious and unpopular partnership since their decision was made in 2006 to invest in the St Maarten Show . Ordinarily, the contract called for two years’ notice, but SMMTA President Jeff Boyd was gracious enough to absolve MYBA of its obligation to finance another show in 2010, since the past two years’ shows have run at a considerable loss to the Association.
Even when the St Maarten Show was fully sold out and easily covering its costs, charter agents and captains strongly objected to the need to attend two Caribbean charter shows running almost simultaneously. The clear consensus now is that MYBA should simply step aside and let the market determine which of the two charter shows should prevail. The Caribbean charter show controversy (2006-2009) is already well-documented and need not be revisited.
Suffice it to say that this troubled chapter in the Association’s history is now over, and the MYBA Board will think long and hard before committing its members’ resources to any boat show again.