This year’s London Boat Show offered a warning

Peter Nash is the editor of Boating Business

It seems the London Boat Show works for most of its exhibitors. But, as Peter Poland points out, the future looks shaky.

Whatever is done, the attendance seems mired in a persistent downward plunge.

And, at a time when Paris brought in 240,000 and Düsseldorf 248,000, London’s paltry in comparison 89,000 seems ever more second division, as the erudite Mr Poland puts it.

But, if the exhibitors are happy with the sales they are achieving, presumably they don’t worry too much which division they’re in.

The show is now very much a regional boat show, saved only by the gleaming attendance of Sunseeker, Princess and a pleasingly emerging Fairline. Without the three industry leaders, the London Boat Show would probably be hard put to beat the Telegraph Cruise Show’s 18,500 over its three says.

Some suggest losing the Friday press day has robbed the show of a lot of its press coverage – and vital visitor attendance – for a small reduction in exhibitor costs.

I have to say the press office is nowhere near as busy as it used to be. And both press and broadcast coverage appear to be less than I remember over the years.

The early start has also been criticised and blamed for the show’s shortcomings.

We’ve heard all this before, of course.

But I think Mr Poland does sound a clear warning: the London Boat Show is in danger of becoming a second division boat show.

If the exhibitors are happy with their returns and want the show to continue, so be it.

But anyone or who’s been around the LBS for a few years can’t help but wonder – with competing shows still up there and successful – whatever happened to what used to be one of the world’s great Premier League boat shows?

And now to the weather

So we had no snow this year to deplete the LBS attendance. But early in the show we were reminded by Alice Driscoll, MD of ADPR and a resident of the Somerset Levels, just what was happening down there.

It was a repeat of last year,but this year was worse. In spades...

Ms Driscoll asked BB to help with a News Flash to the industry asking for help and we were extremely pleased to see the list of companies that stepped up to the plate.

Well done everyone – see the list on page 5...

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