|PIMEX packs them in again|
The 13th Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX) was staged in early January featuring one of the strongest line-ups of marine and lifestyle products in the show's history. PIMEX is the longest running marine and lifestyle show in South East Asia and ran over four days from 7th to 10th January at the award-winning Royal Phuket Marina.
On display were more than 60 yacht brands from around the world, both sail and power, including four superyachts (priced at over THB360 million each) plus two of the largest multihulls ever seen in Thailand. Independently audited, the boat show welcomed 5,500 visitors, 45% of which were international – primarily from Europe and Asia – with the show seeing robust growth in the number of Thai nationals attending.
"I am proud to say the Phuket International Boat Show was a sell-out. All the in-water space was taken and the Exhibition Hall looked fantastic. Following the Thai Government announcement of a new 12-month superyacht charter licence for foreign-flagged vessels, we have seen a notable increase in enquiries from superyacht brokers and agents around the world. What is very encouraging though is not just the quality and size of some of the boats in the show this year, but also the variety: there were more sailboats and multihulls than ever before, the smallest boat on display was 20 feet and there are entry level boats for under THB2 million," said Andrew Dowden, Managing Director of Andaman Marine Consultants, organizers of the Phuket International Boat Show.
"This year's mix of exhibitors really was one of the most diverse yet. We had luxury property offerings from Phuket and beyond, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and BMW, and every conceivable marine product and brand showing their wares," added Dowden.
With a world-class infrastructure Phuket continues to attract wealthy visitors, yacht owners and investors to its shores every year. Forty percent of the world's population lives within a six-hour flight of Phuket and within easy access are two of the world's biggest countries – India and China. With three billion people on Phuket's doorstep and spectacular cruising grounds the potential for yachting and marine leisure tourism is huge, underscoring Phuket's position as the marine destination of choice in Asia.
Looking to grow yachting and marine tourism in Thailand further is leading international yacht dealership, brokerage and service company Simpson Marine, and Thailand's only 5-Gold Anchor award-winning marina, Royal Phuket Marina.
"I have been sailing in Phuket's waters for many years and the cruising-grounds are truly world-class. Phuket has now become the Asian Riviera. My vision for Phuket remains unchanged: to help develop the best yachting and marine infrastructure, and encourage quality visitors to come and enjoy the beauty of the island. I can see demographics of yacht buyers and charter guests is changing with more Asian's enjoying the yachting lifestyle, and as most marinas are already full we are expanding our facilities at Royal Phuket Marina to accommodate more yachts," said Mr. Gulu Lalvani, Chairman, Royal Phuket Marina.
"We see more yacht owners choosing Phuket as their base and we will be opening a new Dry Stack at the marina which can accommodate boats up to 12 meters in length. Owners can call to our marina team and within one hour we will have their boat out of the stack and in the water ready for them to go and enjoy Phuket's marine treasures," added Mr. Lalvani.
The Dry Stack will increase capacity at Royal Phuket Marina from 170 to 296 boats and will be finished and operating by the end of February 2016.
Providing a more convenient and hasslefree yachting experience is at the heart of growing yachting in Phuket and no-one knows this more so than Simpson Marine. With more than 100 staff in 17 offices across Asia, Simpson Marine has been providing yacht services in the region since 1984 and in Thailand since 2004. With six boats in-the-water at this year's Phuket International Boat Show, Simpson Marine believe in Phuket and Thailand's yachting future.
"From our experience we see that more people are buying yachts in Thailand because of the beauty of the Andaman Sea and its surrounding waters. Coupled with the worldclass marine facilities in Phuket, many of our clients opt to keep their boats here" says Mr. Sergio Loiacono, Country Sales Manager of Simpson Marine Thailand.
Exclusively representing leading international boat brands Sanlorenzo, Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo Yachts, Beneteau Power, Beneteau Sail, CNB Yachts, Lagoon and Viking Yachts in Asia, Simpson Marine's in-water display included the Monte Carlo 4, three from the Monte Carlo Yachts' range – MCY86, MCY70, MCY65 – and two catamarans, the Lagoon 630 MY and Lagoon 560 Imagine.
"This year marks one of our strongest line-ups at the Phuket International Boat Show. Phuket has always been an important market for us and some of the highlights include the awardwinning Monte Carlo Yachts 86, the Lagoon 630 Motor Yacht and the special edition Lagoon 560 Imagine. All three are making their debuts in Thailand at the show," adds Mr. Loiacono.
"Being a multi-brand dealer with offices throughout Asia means we can take care of both international and local clients, and Phuket is increasingly becoming the hottest yachting destination in Asia. Thailand is a key sales and charter market for us and we have seen a quality and diverse group of visitors at this year's edition of the Phuket International Boat Show," said Sergio Loiacono, Country Manager of Simpson Marine Thailand.
Speaking of the growing interest in multihulls in the region, Andrew de Bruin, Managing Director of Multihull Solutions Asia, commented, "This is the Asian Premiere of the Fountaine Pajot Victoria 67. This boat arrived in Phuket recently and over the last four days at the show there has been a lot of interest and we are very confident in securing a sale of a Fountaine Pajot Victoria 67, available ex- France, within the next week."
With the Thai Government looking to open up the superyacht charter market in Thailand, there was an increased showing of superyachts at this year's show with the biggest, the Majesty 105, attracting a lot of attention.
"I'm delighted to have had the chance to show the Majesty 105 at the Phuket International Boat Show this year. It is a stunning yacht and is part of the Majesty Yachts' Superyacht Collection. The number and quality of visitors to the show has been very good and there has been a lot of interest in the Majesty 105 and larger Superyachts, and also in the other boats from the Gulf Craft range we have displayed. Boats have been sold and we will be back displaying at PIMEX 2017 next year!," said Mr. Tony Nixey, Managing Director of Go Boating Thailand, representatives of Gulf Craft in Thailand.
In addition to an impressive line-up of motor yachts, PIMEX saw a 35% increase in the number of sailing yachts and multihulls exhibiting this year. Following increased interest from superyachts, organisers will be offering a dedicated superyacht facility at next year's Phuket International Boat Show, which will take place 5 – 8 January 2017 at the awardwinning Royal Phuket Marina.PIMEX by the numbers:
In the early days of IMAGE asia, around 1999, Genville Fordham represented in Phuket (and wrote for) a Singapore-based regional boating magazine. This brought him into contact with the island's fledgling marine industry. Meanwhile, he'd "discovered" yachting for the first time a couple of years earlier, joined the King's Cup committee and had become very interested in the whole boating scene.
That year, people returned dissatisfied from the Singapore Boat Show, having invested large sums to exhibit there; this was the spark that led eventually to Phuket's own boat show. Andy Dowden, a veteran of the local yachting industry and a King's Cup committee colleague, was considering investing in IMAGE asia and – although initially dubious – came on board the idea of creating Thailand's first boat show, which they launched in 2003, a few months before an import duty on boats was reduced to zero.
Initially held at the Phuket Boat Lagoon, costs of the tents trucked from Bangkok were high and profits were slim, but the show gained a foothold. By 2006, running both a small publishing business and a boat show were putting a strain on the company's resources, so Andy and Grenville decided to split the business; the show went with Andy and the publishing – and Phuket Raceweek, the regatta they launched in 2004 – stayed with Grenville.About the Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX)
Now in its thirteenth year, PIMEX is an established and successful event in the marine and leisure calendar. PIMEX 2016 will include a large in-water display, together with 2,500sqm of indoor, waterfront exhibition space. There will be a diversity of displays from as far afield as China, Australia, Italy and France. Like its location, PIMEX is a relaxed event where participants celebrate the boating, leisure and luxury lifestyle in an ideal tropical destination. The show is more than boats on display but also an opportunity to see the latest luxury products, properties and engage in some Phuket hospitality (www.facebook.com/PIMEXPhuketInternationalBoatShow ; www.phuketboatshow.com).About Royal Phuket Marina
Royal Phuket Marina is a world-class, luxury, Mediterranean-style marina and entertainment and lifestyle hub with open air restaurants. It is also the only marina in Southeast Asia offering private moorings on the doorsteps of its luxury residences. The state-of-the-art outer marina with its 120 berths and 24-hour security is now fully occupied and has become the home to many of the island's premier yachts. On Phuket's eastern seaboard overlooking scenic Phang Nga Bay, Royal Phuket Marina is Thailand's first lifestyle community rivalling top marina resort communities in Europe and the Caribbean (www.royalphuketmarina.com).