Mass exhibitor withdrawal forces organisers to pull the plug on the Liverpool Boat Show
The Liverpool Boat Show has been sensationally cancelled just ten weeks before it was due to start.
Organisers were blind-sided on the weekend when around 25 exhibitors representing at least 50 boats pulled out after receiving final reminders of administrative payments.
James Gower, a partner at organisers Marine Industry Events (MIE), told MBY: “It’s probably the most devastating day of my life. Ticket sales were flying – many more thousands than any other boat show.
“But the directors got together on the weekend and we just said that if the crowd turn up, they won’t be able to see anything due to the cancellations.”
Gower said every one of the 300 berths in the show marina in Albert Dock had been booked.
A Liverpool Boat Show insider, who declined to be named, laid the blame for the mass exhibitor pull-out on the recent Tullett Prebon London Boat Show at ExCeL in London.
“Exhibitors had a devastating London, which meant they couldn’t commit to the costs of attending Liverpool,” he said.
Meanwhile Rob Mackenzie, MD of MIE, said in a statement: “The failure and the financial loss and its consequences is MIE’s to bear alone, but it is better to cancel the show to protect Liverpool’s reputation rather than to allow exhibitors who booked in good faith and visitors who would have travelled from all over the country in expectation of the participation of brands who’d made late decisions not to take part.
“More than anything else, we’ve cancelled the show to protect the integrity of what we know to be the enormous long term potential for a major Boat Show in Liverpool.”
Organisers said they’d be contacting all those who bought tickets to arrange a refund over the coming days.