The 54th Collins Stewart London Boat Show, in association with the Daily Mail, finished on a high today after a successful, action-packed ten days that really put the “Show” into Boat Show.
Visitors enjoyed 500 exhibitors and over 1,000 boats on display; witnessed high quality, crowd-pulling entertainment throughout the Show; were dazzled by the impressive Sea Queen Stage Spectacular & Fashion Show on the Main Stage powered by Fairline; tested their skills at the latest watersports craze kite-surfing; and heard inspiring recounts delivered by some of the world’s boating legends, all contributing to the enhanced atmosphere of what is already London’s biggest boating event.
Andrew Williams, Managing Director of National Boat Shows (NBS) comments: “This year’s Show has been a huge success and we’re delighted at the positive feedback we have received. Since our London event ended in 2007, we have worked extremely hard to deliver this Show. We listened to feedback and comments from exhibitors and visitors to ensure we were able to create a bustling, exciting atmosphere, with a Show which successfully delivered not only what people wanted but also against our four key success criteria of attendance, sales, ambience and industry showcase.
“NBS would like to thank all of the exhibitors for the support they have given with developing our features and their marketing efforts with ticket sales. We look forward to working closely with you to build on this success and to focus on an ever more impressive 2009 Show.”
Over 127,000 people visited the Show, which is within 2% of last year’s attendance. Alan Morgan, Chairman of National Boat Shows, commented: “We are delighted with this figure as are our exhibitors, many of whom have reported strong sales. The success of this year’s Show must also take into consideration the exhibits which are undoubtedly one of the key draws for many visitors. We’ve hosted some fantastic new product launches and had some truly amazing products on display here this year; from Reid Marine’s dinghy at £545 right up to the £11.5M Tri-deck Sunseeker yacht.”
The introduction of the Main Stage powered by Fairline has undoubtedly been one of the key successes and highlights of the Show. It has created a focal point and helped drive more visitors through the North Hall which was one of its main aims.
Additional highlights of the Show included: an entertaining opening by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Griff Rhys Jones; the impressive collection of 15 narrow boats on the Show’s marina; the Show’s regatta out on the water and the debut of up and coming singer Laura Critchley.
There have been some impressive facts and figures to come out of the Show which had something for everyone from the interactive Deck Games to the informative Classic Boat stand. The Kite Surfing simulator in the watersports zone proved to be a popular attraction with around 700 visitors testing their skills. HMS Exeter welcomed aboard up to 20,000 visitors and 3,800 people experienced the Volvo Ocean Race simulator meanwhile over 35,500 pints of Guinness were consumed during the Show, which is at least 20% up on 2007.
During the Show, the British Marine Federation (BMF) has been working hard behind the scenes for the benefit of the industry. The most notable successes include visits from Stephen Timms, Minister for Competitiveness and Gerry Sutcliffe, Sports Minister as well as lunches that were attended by 20 MPs, and 7 Lords and Government Ministers. Over 30 events were arranged behind the scenes to update and engage with the industry and to launch a number of initiatives such as the Superyacht careers website and the Health and Safety Manual.
Many exhibitors were pleased with the number of visitors making purchases and a number reported record sales.
Robert Braithwaite Managing Director of Sunseeker International comments: “We are delighted with this year’s Show and have achieved sales significantly ahead of the £80M gained at last year’s Collins Stewart London Boat Show.”
Northshore Yachts has also enjoyed buoyant sales at the 2008 Collins Stewart London Boat Show and are reporting another ‘best boat show ever’ with sales up by 50% on last year and the company has already indicated a desire for a larger stand next year. Claire Horsman, Marketing Manager for Northshore Yachts comments: “We have been overwhelmed with the number of visitors on our stand and have even had to draw in extra staff to help at the Show. Many visitors have come specifically to see the new Southerly 32 that was launched at the Show. All our yachts are built to order and the 32 is now sold out until April 2009.”
Richard Percy, HR and Operations Manager at Rockley Watersports gushed about the Show: “Fantastic Show! We are up 200% on bookings. We’ve sold to those who hadn’t thought about it. The visitors have been happier with the enhanced atmosphere and the numerous school groups that have visited have particulalry enjoyed the interactive activities.
Ian Braham, Head of Marine Finance at Lombard Marine Finance said: “I am pleased to report that we have again exceeded last year’s results with the value of applications taken at the Show up by 11%. It seems that medium sized sailing boats have sold well and there has been strong demand for motor yachts over 70ft. The split between power and sail is around 50:50, indicating the shift towards sailing boats observed at the Southampton Show has continued at London.”
Steve Coultate, Managing Director of Sealine has been equally impressed: “We are delighted to report a 15% increase in sales over 2007 with very high demand for our award-winning SC35. Orders for our new SC47 have been taking significant deposits and this boat is not due for launch until September. Boat sales have been achieved across our range.”
Chris Murdoch, Managing Director of Nauticalia said: “We have ended ahead of last year and have had an enjoyable Show. The number of visitors was good, the quality was excellent and the ambience and atmosphere and WOW factor was the best I have ever seen at ExCeL and undoubtedly increased the dwell time, visitor spend and should bring people back next year. The Sea Queen display was outstanding and worth the ticket price alone!”
Bill Saner, Managing Director of Nantwich Canal Centre simply referred to the Show as: “phenomenal!”