PHUKET: The first government-sponsored Thailand Yacht Show attracted almost 5,000 visitors in four days, say the organizers, who hailed the inaugural event a resounding success and believe it will put Phuket firmly on the map as a regional hub for the marine leisure industry.
A total of 43 boats from a variety of locala and international boat builders and brokers were on display at the Ao Po Grand Marina last week. The boats ranged in size from 13 meters up to 73 meters.
Another 40 exhibitors were also housed in the marina’s air-conditioned pavilion, including marinas, regattas, chandlers and upholsterers. A few of the latest aquatic toys were also part of the exposition, and held on-water displays for the crowds.
The weather remained pleasant throughout the event; the rain held off and it was blue skies every day, adding to the idyllic setting for having fun on the water.
A combination of strong support by the government and marina staff was instrumental in the event’s success, said organizer Andy Treadwell.
It was only three months beforehand that the concept of putting on such a large international boat show started to become a reality, after news spread that charter regulations in Thailand were to be relaxed; something which has until now made investors hesitant about committing to expand the marine industry in Thailand.
Overall, the yacht show appears to have achieved what the organizers set out to do: stimulate the superyacht charter industry in Thailand, while playing a significant role in further solidifying Asia as one of the top three destinations in the world for superyacht owners and charterers, along with the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
Traffic through the event was heavy, and the quality of inquiries was high, with most brokers at the show now following up some strong leads.
Eric Noyel, founder and CEO of Asia Marine Yacht Services, said the show was a positive sign of things to come.
“This location is excellent and there is room in the marina for the show to grow. Visitor numbers can be expected to increase at future events and the quality of the visitors we saw was good,” said Mr Noyel.
Leading global superyacht and megayacht broker Burgess Yachts reported a number of ‘quality inquiries’ and potential business generated by the yacht show.
Simpson Marine CEO Mike Simpson said he was delighted to finally see big names and big boats here in Phuket. “This is the first time superyachts have been able to get into a boat show in Phuket, which is the natural first port-of-call for superyachts arriving in Asia,” he said.
“This show is the shape of things to come – and they will soon be bigger and better,” said Mr Simpson.
Josh Lee, founder and CEO of Lee Marine, said that the event was a ‘proper international show’ and was looking forward to a bigger and even better one next year.
As a result of the renewed high level of interest in Thailand’s luxury marine leisure scene, relevant regulations are now under review. These include aspects of chartering, immigration, customs and revenue, with the aim of making Thailand more accessible for superyachts as well as attracting more business from European and US superyacht owners and charterers.
The Phuket Gazette, PGTV and The Nation are proud sponsors of the Thailand Yacht Show.
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