The new format of the London International Boat Show has led to an increase in visitor numbers for the 2011 edition, says organiser National Boat Shows (NBS).
This year’s show, which ran from 7 to 16 January at London’s Excel, saw an unaudited 109,778 visitors, a seven per cent increase in visitor numbers on 2010 and two per cent down on 2009. However, together with the Outdoors Show and The London Bike Show, the total attendance figure was 140,164.
New features this year included the huge Watersports Action Pool, where visitors could watch demonstrations try their hand at various boating activities, and the Used Boats Marina, which featured in-water boats for sale. By adding these features and running alongside the other two shows, NBS hoped to broaden the event’s appeal.
According to NBS MD Andrew Williams, the goal this year was to increase ‘the wow factor’ of the show. “The new east entrance gave a glimpse of the pool and some of the exciting action gave visitors a hint of what was to come before they even walked through the ticket barriers,” he said. “The new layout has worked well and has without doubt helped visitors to navigate the show more easily while giving it a fresh and modern new look.” Williams recently announced his departure from NBS after the completion of the 2011 event.
“Although we have attracted a good number of visitors,” said NBS Chairman Paul Strzelecki, “sales at the show have proven to still be challenging, with exhibitors finding that final commitment sometimes difficult to secure. Reports have been that the visitors to the show are keen boaters and are asking the right questions, but sales are slower in the current climate.
“The important thing is that this new-look show is, once again, a world-class showcase and vital sales platform for the marine industry,” he added.