The attendance figures showed that more people visited the Southampton Boat Show this year than last year and exhibitors are encouraged despite recent events

The 33rd Southampton Boat Show wound up on Sunday, September 23 after the start of the first Volvo Ocean Race. This year’s show, which opened on September 14, saw the highest attendance figures ‘for many years’, as unofficial figures given by organiser, National Boat Shows, put attendance at around 125,000. Last year around 118,000 visited the show but attendance was affected by the petrol crisis.

Despite global events overshadowing proceedings, spokesman for the British Marine Industries Federation which owns National Boat Shows (NBS), and director of marketing for NBS James Gower said: “We’re delighted this year because the attendance has been very high.”

Of exhibitors polled by IBI the response to the show has been largely positive. In light of global events managing director of Princess Yachts International David King told IBI: “We’ll fully support our dealers and customers in the US. We don’t expect the next sales period over there to be tremendous, but nor do we expect sales to be down.”

James Douglas, UK sales manager for electronic navigation equipment manufacturer Raymarine, said the company was quite pleased with the volume of enquiries received at the show. “Given the current events in the US and economic slowdown, our initial thoughts were that the show could be a complete disaster.

“Thankfully, customers rallied around,” added Douglas, “and we heard some very positive, defiant comments with regard to impending recession and possible conflict. The Show went pleasingly well, but we will have to see how the enquiries convert to orders in November and there will be an air of caution for a long time to come.”