The 16th Cape Town International Boat Show closed its doors yesterday with consensus from exhibitors that it was a success.
‘The leisure boating industry has been under stress for several years, there are a number of companies that have closed shop in the past 12 months, but exhibitors were upbeat about this year’s show,’ says organiser Dana Whiting. ‘The sector has become quite niched, but the quality of visitor to this year’s event ensured that sales were taking place. In fact, one of the largest brokerages in Cape Town insisted this was the best year ever for their operation!’
The Boat Show was consolidated into one venue – previously it had been split between the V&A and the CTICC – with a large on-water component and dryland exhibits within a large marquee alongside the water. This resulted in all visitors enjoying the entire Show, previously the logistical challenges of moving between two venues meant that some people never made it to both.
‘The quality of boats and other exhibitors on offer this year was excellent. Aside from the high-end of the market – where the Cape Town Boat Show has an almost continental monopoly – there was plenty for the new entrants to the boating world to feast their eyes on also. Many of the exhibitors are not only leaders in South Africa but produce craft that compete on the global stage. It’s a real privilege to have these manufacturers as regular participants.’
A feature of this year’s Show was the opportunities for members of the public to get their feet wet. The protected nature of the V&A Waterfront Marina made it possible for youngsters to take advantage of SA Sailing’s outreach programme where they could take out a dinghy with an experienced hand at the helm and feel the thrill of the sport. The stand-up paddle boards were also put to good use.
‘Establishing the Show at one place was a positive move. Not only did it make the logistics easier for the exhibitors it also helped the visitors. The V&A Waterfront is a fantastic location, once visitors have spent a few hours viewing the boats they are able to nip over to the mall, grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. We are already talking to the V&A about how we can make the event even bigger in the coming year,’ concluded Dana.