Let the show go on: CT Show attendance jumps 54%

Messe Frankfurt says lifestyle element helped pull the crowd

They said it would be bigger. They added surf skis and Mercedes Benz.  The result was a more than 50% jump in attendance at this year’s edition of the Cape Town International Boat Show.

While slightly less than the targeted 10 000 visitors, 8500 is not disappointing at the first time of asking. No complaints therefore from Messe Frankfurt SA Group Exhibitions Director Josh Low who told SABBEX he expected the show to go from strength to strength. “The general feedback has been very positive,” said Low, who highlighted the increased number of exhibitors and boats this year. He also stressed the importance of the lifestyle element, with headline sponsor Mercedes Benz adding “a nice dynamic to the show”.

“For us it is really about offering more value to visitors who come to the show, to offer an experience,” Low said.

Teething problems – it’s the first time Messe Frankfurt assumed sole management — would be resolved in next year’s edition, which is likely to see an even bigger footprint inside the V&A Waterfront, Low said.  A potential tie-up with a V&A Water Festival is on the cards, as is a possible seminar circuit and a VIP-grade ticket offering such luxuries as harbour cruises.

Meanwhile other stakeholders concurred that this year marked a step-up from last year, when the national mood was mired in political and economic uncertainty. One major boat yard confirmed a significant sale, while others reported the usual gusts of interest.

AS expected Greg Bertish stole the show out on the water with his Little Optimist race, well supported by a crew of celebrities.

An unexpected visitor was a gale force south-east gale that wreaked havoc with some exhibitors.

SABBEX executive director Vanessa Davidson said she was pleased with both the expansion of the show and inclusion of more activities. “The inclusion of exhibition space for BBBEE SMMEs under the SABBEX banner was very successful and these exhibitors all said it gave them a platform they have never had before and the networking and connections made were invaluable to their small businesses,” Davidson said.

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