Storms fail to dampen buoyant Expo

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Keeping a weather eye open: despite looming storms, exhibitors reported a good response from the public.
Keeping a weather eye open: despite looming storms, exhibitors reported a good response from the public.

Record crowds for Gold Coast Expo despite some unfavourable weather.

In its first showing in a March timeslot, the Gold Coast International Boat Show and Marine Expo overcame some adverse weather conditions to record its highest attendances to date.

Stephen Milne launches the 2017 Expo.
Stephen Milne launches the 2017 Expo.

Sweltering heat preceding afternoon storms didn't deter the Queensland crowds which got in early to view the 230 exhibitors on the Coomera site. Visitor numbers were clearly up across the site, vindicating the decision to move the date of the show forward to March and thus avoid the clash with SCIBS in May.

The show was also well attended by the local marine industry with the number of exhibitors well up on last year. All the exhibitors that Marine Business spoke to reported good business and strong interest from the public.

Organisers reported over 23,000 visitors across the three days, an increase on the 20,000 over four days last year. Event and marketing manager, Emma Brown, said confirmed sales reported at the show were “extremely strong”.

“From everything we’ve heard from exhibitors today we know those direct sales from the show will surpass everything we’ve done before,” she said.

“We’ve absolutely eclipsed all our previous records – visitor numbers, sales at the show, the number of boats on display, exhibitor numbers and our massive Fleet of Firsts for product and boat premieres.

“Our new marina link was another significant step forward. Everyone just loved the way it opened up the entire waterfront along the Coomera River.

“In so many respects, 2017 really has been a turning point for our boat show and for our marine industry – it’s fantastic.”

The message 'see it all first' at the Gold Coast was spelt out at the show's opening. (Facebook image via @gcmarineexpo)
The message 'see it all first' at the Gold Coast was spelt out at the show's opening. (Facebook image via @gcmarineexpo)

In the lead-up to the show, organisers campaigned hard on the message of “see it all first” at the Gold Coast show, taking advantage of the show's positioning as the first major boat show of the year. It was a message that seemed to strike a chord with the public and industry alike.

“Friday and Saturday were both significantly up on last year’s visitation, even Sunday with its showers and late storm eclipsed last year’s attendance,” said Brown.

“The overall show visitation number was up 18% and that is very rewarding given this year we packaged the boat show into three days from four in response to exhibitor feedback.

“We already have a significant number of new exhibitors who want to be here next year, and many existing exhibitors have expressed their desire to take even more space.

“The 2018 Gold Coast International Boat Show will be massive."

This year also saw the involvement of the Boating Industry Association (BIA) for the first time, lending its logistical support to the staging of the show. Howard Glenn, BIA national CEO, praised the “industry legends” who created and supported the show.

“It’s a fantastic story of co-operation,” he said. “Many of these marine industry leaders are in competition with each other but they put that aside for the greater good of our industry and for the benefit of the 30,000 people who work in the Australian marine industry.

“That truly is an inspiration.”

There will be a wrap-up of the show in the April-May issue of Marine Business magazine.

The opening day queue for the Expo as the crowds turned up to get in early.
The opening day queue for the Expo as the crowds turned up to get in early.
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