The 48th Southampton Boat Show kicked off to a fantastic first four days over the weekend with strong sales results being reported and Irish boat firms are among the winners in boat brokerage business.
An impressive 23 brands made their World debut on opening day, Friday 16 September, from the likes of global brands Oyster Yachts, Princess Yachts, Bavaria Power, Sunseeker International and Haines Marine. Seven others will have made their European debuts, with 72 UK debuts and 33 new boats being welcomed to the Show over the next seven days.
Over 1,500 have already got out on the water for free with the Show’s Try-A-Boat attraction which sees visitors climb onboard the latest RIBs and luxury yachts, and the Get Afloat! area, where 8-16 year olds can try out dinghy sailing and Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Murray Ellis, Managing Director of British Marine Boat Shows, comments: “We’ve had a terrific start to the 2016 Show. We are already hearing of strong sales reports from our exhibitors with many reporting an increase compared to this time last year. As a global Show, attracting exhibitors and visitors from around the world, this is an important aspect of retaining the strong business reputation of the Southampton Boat Show.”
'It has been very busy so far on this stand and we are up 10% on last year in listings and enquiries' Martin Salmon of MGM Boats told Afloat.ie. 'We have just shy of 200 boats on the wall and the customer feedback has been excellent'.
MGM Boats have been consistent exhibitors at the UK show throughout the recession and appear to be reaping some rewards. 'There is definitely an appreciation from the public of the effort and consistency of our boat show presentations', Salmon said. 'A lot of people have remarked about the half hearted efforts of their local brokerage companies just listing on the web and sitting back waiting on the phone to ring' 'I am very confident that we will achieve multiple sales and sign up plenty of new listings as a result of this show', he added.
Kiran Haslam, Marketing Director at Princess Yachts, comments: "Fantastic feeling; the sun has been shining today, and our hospitality area as well as our yachts on display are buzzing with show visitors and invited guests. The right conversations are taking place and we are delighted with the organisation of the show this year."
Commenting on the strong retail sales figures, Sean Robertson, Sunseeker International’s Sales Director, said: “The first weekend at Southampton Boat Show has been extraordinary and we are pleased that the Manhattan 52 has commanded so much interest; testament to our substantial investment in new model development which is having broad appeal from both existing clients and customers new to the brand, keen to join the Sunseeker family. The show has predicted to attract over 110,000 people over the ten day period and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to the stand.”
Sebastian Hirst, Head of Sales for Sunsail and The Moorings, said: “It has been a great Southampton Boat Show so far for us. We have taken more bookings so far this show than we would usually expect, with more people committing to booking here and now, rather than taking the quote and contacting us later. We are also impressed with the busy buzz about the Show and we are very happy with the new layout of Ocean Hall and our stand position – it feels much more open and welcoming.”
Paul Martin of BHG Marine, said: “The start of the Southampton Boat Show 2016 has been promising, with great interest in our new products and higher levels of interest than we anticipated. We are confident that by the end of the week the enthusiasm will continue.”
The Show opened to the British Sailing Team, including Olympic medallists, Giles Scott, Saskia Clark, Hannah Mills and Nick Dempsey alongside award-winning actress, Michelle Keegan. Gold medal winner, Giles said: “The Southampton Boat Show is a highlight on any sailor’s calendar and is a great place to spend time with family and friends. It’s something everyone should experience”.
Featuring one of Europe’s largest purpose-built marinas, the event will play host to lots more activity over the next seven days. Today, Tuesday 20 September, saw nearly 60 apprentices celebrating their graduation whilst British Marine’s new careers video was also launched on the Show’s Festival Stage powered by Datatag & the COMPASS scheme. The Show will also welcome the Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport, on Wednesday, 21 September.