Arthur Tay, SUTL Group CEO Proves Why He’s the ‘Marina King’



As Chairman and CEO of SUTL Group, which created the ONE°15 Marina brand, Arthur Tay has overseen the growth of its flagship Sentosa Cove facility, which is host and owner of the Singapore Yachting Festival and Blue Water EduFest events, and has been joined by Nirup Island.

Arthur Tay, Chairman and CEO, SUTL Group

Looking back, what was the response to the first Singapore Yachting Festival in April 2023, which ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove hosted following a four-year break from boat shows in Singapore?

The turnout for the four-day event was positive, with more than 9,500 visitors in attendance. A total of 50 boats were showcased, with 54 exhibitors participating. The high-tech water toys proved to be a major attraction, with numerous adventurous attendees trying out the electric surfboards, while others enjoyed drinks and relaxing on the floating lounge. The second edition will be held from April 25-28, 2024.

As owner of the ONE°15 Marina brand, why did SUTL decide to acquire the Singapore Yachting Festival?

Since 2011, ONE°15 Marina has consistently been the preferred venue for yacht exhibitions in Singapore. The success of these events has been propelled by the marina’s prestige, expertise and hospitality.

Tay with Thien Kwee Eng, CEO of Sentosa Development Corporation, and Wade Pearce of SG Marine Guide at last year’s Singapore Yachting Festival

This synergy between the venue and the event has become so evident that it’s a natural progression for the marina to assume ownership of the Singapore Yachting Festival under the ONE15 Events Management entity, guiding the show’s continuous growth and development.

In terms of participation, the event is now managed by ONE°15 Marina’s in-house team, ensuring a commitment to quality and high standards. Our aim is to enhance the festival experience and introduce Singaporeans and our neighbouring communities to the yachting lifestyle and culture, since more people are increasingly embracing boating and engaging in day trips on the water.

ONE°15’s vision is to be more than just a marina brand. The brand aims to deliver an unrivalled waterfront lifestyle. I believe the Singapore Yachting Festival provides us with the perfect platform to deliver this experience, not only to our members but to the wider community interested in the waterfront experience.

The Singapore Yachting Festival has been acquired by ONE15 Events Management

Taking ownership of the event gives us full control over its curation, enabling us to make adjustments that enhance the product to align with the changing demands of the intended demographic.

Can you explain the difference between the Singapore Yachting Festival and other boat shows ONE°15 Marina has hosted in the past?

In contrast to other boat shows that were focused on luxury, superyachts, fashion and high-end brands, the Singapore Yachting Festival acknowledges the diverse interests within the boating community. The event promotes the yachting lifestyle, showcasing the latest water toys and gadgets, and boats ranging from 10-60m.

The display has expanded to cater to first-time boat buyers and offer ancillary yachting equipment such as tenders, toys and recreational activities. Additionally, the festival enhances visitor experiences with an experiential zone featuring water toy demonstrations, trials and sea trials aboard charter vessels.

This year’s event will include a new ‘festival market’, plus water toys and cars

Since the pandemic, there has been a renewed emphasis on mental well-being and quality family time. As such, the new festival component aims to create a more inclusive and family-friendly atmosphere.

How will the 2024 event differ from last year’s edition?

We’ve significantly expanded the footprint of the event. In 2023, the event was focused purely on the on-water activities. Following the success of the first edition, we decided to invest further into the event by activating the land area surrounding the marina.

We’re delighted to introduce a new concept at this year’s event: a festival market that features upscale pop-up alfresco stalls offering artisan crafts, food, beverages and family-friendly activities. The festival market will enhance the event’s festivities and atmosphere.

This year’s event could feature about 70 yachts

It encompasses a broad audience, including food and lifestyle vendors, yacht enthusiasts, buyers and sellers, along with visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the yachting lifestyle.

For this year’s Singapore Yachting Festival, we’ve also partnered with ICOMIA to deliver a two-day conference ahead of the show, from April 23-24. Darren Vaux, the President of ICOMIA, will share ICOMIA’s landmark research on reducing carbon emissions in the recreational marine industry. The Yacht Style Awards will then be held on the Wednesday evening, April 24.

What are your thoughts on the first two editions of the Blue Water EduFest, your brainchild?

It’s designed to be educational and inspiring, serving as a wake-up call for everyone to recognise the pressing need to protect our precious marine ecosystem and combat climate change by altering our mindset and lifestyle. The event has undeniably met its stated goals, and it’s imperative to sustain the momentum in disseminating its message, raising further awareness, and catalysing change.

Tay’s brainchild, the Blue Water EduFest includes The Ocean Collective seminar

What has been the response to ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove since it completed its US$5 million upgrade and reconfiguration in 2021?

Following the reconfiguration, we were accredited by the Marina Industries Association as a superyacht-ready marina and are receiving more superyachts to Singapore. The marina can accommodate yachts of up to 220ft, as we have a 40m-wide channel that facilitates the smooth manoeuvring of larger vessels within the marina.

Additionally, we’ve upgraded our pedestals to meet the power requirements of superyachts, enhanced the speed of our Wi-Fi connection and improved superyacht privileges, while the new superyacht berths provide more convenient access to the clubhouse.

The positive feedback from our returning customers serves as a strong testament to the notable improvements made to the marina through the reconfiguration.

The Blue Water EduFest concludes with the ONE°15 Clean Up

How have the numbers of visiting and resident superyachts changed since 2021, which was still in the heart of the post-Covid era with limited sea travel between countries?

The numbers of visiting and resident superyachts have seen a significant change since 2021 due to various reasons. These include new purchases by high-end owners looking for permanent berthing here, as a safe base for travel in the region and spending more time with their family groups.

There were also vessels that typically travel across multiple regions and decided to find a safe location as a short-term base of operation, until the rest of the countries opened after Covid.

We also welcomed vessels that weathered the Covid period in remote locations, but couldn’t complete many aspects of their annual maintenance. Once they could travel freely, they came to the marina until they had an opportunity to book into a shipyard in Singapore.

ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove completed a US$5 million upgrade in 2021

These factors may have affected the numbers of visiting and resident superyachts in different ways and to varying degrees, depending on the specific region and circumstances. Detailed data and analysis from industry reports provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of these factors on superyacht activity.

As ONE°15 Marina activity is only a small part of SUTL Group, what are the other primary businesses in which you operate?

On the private company front, SUTL started as a ship chandelling and distribution business in 1968, and has evolved into a successful enterprise with a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific. Fast-moving consumer goods remain a core pillar of the SUTL Group, which represents over 50 global brands and distributes an array of consumer and household goods, alcohol and tobacco. For over 25 years, we’ve also co-owned the KFC restaurant chain in Vietnam, where it now has over 180 stores.

ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove was inaugurated in 2007, a year after the first residences on Sentosa Cove opened

SUTL had never been involved in marinas before Sentosa Cove. Has the marina achieved what you hoped it would before it was launched in 2007, a year after Sentosa Cove’s first residence opened?

It has certainly exceeded my expectations. Seventeen years ago, we ventured into opening a marina in Singapore where such facilities were scarce and unfamiliar. Through dedicated efforts, we’ve successfully established ONE°15 Marina as Asia’s premier marina. I take great pride in seeing our team flourish and maintaining the brand’s equity and reputation, propelling it to new heights of success.

On that note, how has ONE°15 Marina benefited from and contributed to Sentosa’s reputation as one of Asia’s premier resort destinations, with Resorts World Sentosa opening in 2010?

ONE°15 Marina is privileged to occupy a serene and picturesque area of Sentosa Cove, close to Lazarus Island, St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands, which greatly complements our charter business. Similarly, it enriches Sentosa’s appeal by allowing visitors to charter a boat and indulge in a leisurely cruise around Singapore’s waters, enjoying the sun, sand, and sea!

The Blue Water EduFest clean up includes beaches

How closely does SUTL work with the government, Sentosa Development Corporation and Sentosa Cove Resort Management (SCRM)?

We work together with our landlord to execute promotional campaigns, organise signature events, and implement green initiatives. ONE°15 Marina actively contributes to the Sentosa Carbon Neutral Network’s objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

In addition, ONE°15 Marina enhances Sentosa’s attractions, offering significant value and complementing the idyllic waterfront and upscale residential enclave of Sentosa Cove, with its vibrant yachting lifestyle.

Located just 8nm south of Singapore, ONE°15 Marina Nirup Island in Indonesia opened last year. What facilities can visitors enjoy there now?

The current amenities include a marina with 44 berths, a clubhouse, all-day restaurant, swimming pool, sea sports facilities, showers and laundry amenities.

ONE°15 Marina Nirup Island had an opening ceremony in July 2023 and currently offers 44 berths, a clubhouse, restaurant, pool and water sports

There’s also a ferry terminal adjacent to our marina and a CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) facility. Nirup Island has already garnered considerable attention among both Singaporeans and Indonesians as a holiday and wedding destination.

Future facilities include a Westin-operated hotel and villas, restaurants and bars, as well as frequent ferries to and from the island. The marina is currently at the soft opening stage and will only be fully operational when the Westin hotel and villas are opened, with additional activities introduced.

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