Southampton Show grows and grows

Attendance figures high, and the trade loves it too

The 39th Southampton Boat Show, in association with ITV Meridian, finished yesterday after what the organisers call a successful 10 days.

With over 127,200 people visitors, attendance increased by 8%, equating to 9,500 more visitors than last year.

This was driven by a record attendance on press and preview day and one of the largest attended second Saturdays in recent years.

There were 600 exhibitors and more than 370 boats afloat.

Alan Morgan, Chairman of National Boat Shows, which organises the event, said: “The success of this year’s show demonstrates a positive feeling in the industry. The exhibits are essentially the stars of the show, and we’ve had some truly amazing products on show this year; from a canoe worth £200 right up to the £11m Tri-deck Sunseeker yacht.

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“We’re really looking forward to the 40th anniversary of the Southampton Boat Show next year. Not only have we secured a title sponsor, PSP, for 2008 but we are also delighted to be continuing our partnership with ITV Meridian who have agreed a three-year extension, pledging their commitment to the continued success of the show.”

Opened by Sir Keith Mills and Mike Sanderson of British America’s Cup hope TEAMORIGIN, the show played host to HRH The Princess Royal, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Ben Ainslie, Mike Golding OBE, Dee Caffari, Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, Nigel Mansell, Alan Titchmarsh, Simon Gregson and Sue Cleaver.

The British Marine Federation (BMF) says it has achieved success through behind the scenes work at the show, notably the visit of Lord Drayson, Government Minister with responsibility for the marine industry.

Andrew Williams, Managing Director of National Boat Shows, said: “This has been an amazing show for many exhibitors, visitors and for all of the team at NBS and BMF that have worked so hard to stage this exciting event. I want to thank everyone for all of their hard work especially those exhibitors and sponsors who helped promote and drive the phenomenal increase in attendance through their websites, issuing 40% more trade tickets (through the ‘pay on redemption’ system) and becoming ticket sales channels.

“We have over achieved in all four of our success criteria: the quality products and bustling exciting ambience has produced an industry showcase of which we can all be proud and this has given us a huge increase in visitor numbers and some encouragingly high levels of commercial success.”

Brokers reported strong trade.

Managing Director of Fairline Boats, Derek Carter, said: “Sales have exceeded objectives and the number of generated leads indicates there is more to come.

“We at Fairline certainly see this Show in the premier league of on-water shows across the World.”

Lombard Marine Finance reported a healthy show. Ian Braham, Head of Marine Finance, reported that in business terms, this show was interesting because the demand for financing between powerboats and sailboats was almost evenly matched: “In previous years we’ve seen a swing towards more enquiries for the powerboat sector, often as high as 70-30. However this year our enquiries are 50-50. The average advance is in the region of £115,000, which means the average spend on a vessel is around £180,000. This reflects the show trends that the higher end vessels are continuing to be popular.”

Sunseeker’s Managing Director Robert Braithwaite commented: “The show continues to get better and better. It is a hugely important and successful worldwide show. Sunseeker has done very well this year and we are looking forward to the Collins Stewart London Boat Show at ExCeL and the exclusive global launch of our new 34m yacht.”

Julian Gowing MD of Premier Yacht Sales said: “This year has been fantastic, with 21 Elan sailboats sold at the Show compared to six sold last year. We’ve experienced very strong sales and have been more active than before with customers contracting at the Show.”

Adrian Hart, UK Sales Manager of Laser, has reported a massive interest this year. “We have been introducing an enormous amount of people into boating through the Show, which has been really successful for us, and will be delivering that interest through our facilities. We will be taking 65 families new to boating out sailing in October through leads which we have generated at the Show.”

John Roberjot, Director of Hydropool and sponsor of Southampton Boat Show’s Marina, said: “This has been a terrific Show for Hydropool, both in terms of sales and promotion of our company through our sponsorship. It started well from day one and the last Saturday of the Show saw us sell more spas in one day than at any other Show.” 


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