Reaction from the industry

The 40th PSP Southampton Boat Show enjoyed an unofficial visitor count of 121,389 people, the organisers have revealed.

And many dealers say business was good, despite the general financial gloom.

Paul Strzelecki, chairman of National Boat Shows, says: “The show and the industry in general have faced a challenge by way of a series of difficult economic situations hitting the global banking industry and financial markets.

“We experienced a slower beginning but were delighted to finish the show only 5% lower than last year’s stunning attendance which was the third highest in the show’s history.

“Feedback shows that our visitors have had a great day out with us, with many taking the chance to get afloat and our exhibitors remain positive about sales and the long-term benefits of the show.”

Andrew Williams, managing director of National Boat Shows, continues: “Despite these being tough economic times, our buoyant ticket sales illustrate that many visitors continue to see the show as an important date in the boating calendar – a testament to the appeal of the show, the exhibitors and all involved.

“We’ve also had the benefit of good weather and a wealth of attractions to explore, which have helped draw crowds out onto the marina day after day.

“The industry is very conscious of the current economic climate, and while sales have not been as robust as 2007 where we enjoyed a strong year, many exhibitors have exceeded targets for this year – which is encouraging.

“We are of course aware that this may not be the case for all exhibitors and NBS will continue to ensure we produce the best possible showcase for the industry at London and Southampton to maximise sales opportunities for all.”

Jonathan Duffy from Sail Time says: “We’ve had an extremely successful show. We feel we have something different to offer in testing times, and have managed to sign up lots of members.”

James Beaver of Dean and Reddyhoff says: “This is the best boat show we have ever done. We feel the right audience has been attracted this year right up until the last Sunday. People are making decisions, and are here to spend money.”

Andrew Morgan of Morgan Powerboats says: “With the business we have generated here at the show over the last ten days, our family run business will be kept busy for the next 12 months alone.”

James Grazebrook of Haylard says: “Visitor numbers held up well against a difficult economic background and we moved our business forward with the conclusion of two significant commercial marine contracts and a number of large leisure craft sales.

“Southampton is the first in the annual round of major international boat shows and all the indications are that the multi-national superyacht and large leisure yacht business continues to achieve satisfactory sales levels.”

Paul Birch from Haven Knox Johnston: “It has been a pretty upbeat show with excellent weather conditions, which has really restored British confidence in summertime and in the boating industry as a whole. We have spoken to a couple today who are upgrading from an £80k boat to a £300k boat, so business is clearly being done.”

Nick Griffith of Ancasta: “Sales levels have met our expectations however volumes of enquiries both from existing and new customers have greatly exceeded expectations. We are delighted.”

Tim Hart from the Marine Division of Barrus: “We feel the show has really come together in the end of the week, with a particularly good last weekend.”