|TYS showcases superyachts at Ao Po Grand Marina|
The first Thailand Yacht Show saw four days of uninterrupted blue skies and sunshine that made for optimum boat show conditions. The well-appointed Ao Po Grand Marina set the scene and provided the perfect location. Forty-three boats, stretching from 13-73m, were on display. The air-conditioned pavilion held a further 40-odd exhibitors ranging from marinas and regattas to chandlers to upholsterers. During four days, 4,668 registrations were recorded.
Guest of Honour for the Official Opening was Deputy Prime Minister General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, accompanied by an entourage of Ministers and Directors from the Marine Department of Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Sports.
After the VIP guests had toured the indoor pavilion, Andy Treadwell, Managing Director of the show, gave the opening address, acknowledging the invaluable support of the various Government Ministries and the management of host sponsor Ao Po Grand Marina, on Phuket's east coast. "When we first started this project a couple of years ago the business plan that we shared with your Government was to turn Thailand into the principal hub for the yachting industry in South East Asia, with Phuket as its epicenter."
"Our declared mission to help make Thailand and Asia the world's 'third destination' for superyachts (after the Mediterranean and the Caribbean) is now changed. The news that the required VAT on charter yachts entering Thailand will soon be waived opens the doors to all those potential visitors who know about Phuket, and want to visit Thailand and Asia. Asia should now become the 'second destination' not the third."
The Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers were then treated to a tour of the on-water exhibits and a properly magnificent luncheon on board the impressive M/Y Titania, a Lürssen 73m and the biggest yacht in the Show. In addition to the many special events being held at TYS, sea trials were possible, making this show unique – along the likes of the prestigious yacht shows in Cannes and Monaco. Once you drop the lines off the yacht dockside at Ao Po Grand Marina, you are now in the scenic cruising grounds of Phang Nga Bay. This exotic area is known by yacht enthusiasts worldwide not only for its beauty but for its seemingly endless choice in cruising grounds.
Truth be told, Burgess stole the show with the three superyachts it had moored at the end of the doublewidth pontoons: Titania (with its own elevator) plus the 50m M/Y Northern Sun and the 69m M/Y Saluzi with its iconic artwork. The 41m Ocean Emerald, recently featured in the film Point Break was also on display.
The biggest presence in the show came from Lee Marine who has just set up a new sales and service offices at Ao Po Grand Marina. Lee Marine boats on display at the TYS were: the Asia Premiere of the Riviera 525 SUV – the ultimate crossover yacht; the Riviera 48 Flybridge; the Ferretti 720 & 731; the Pershing 46, 72 & 92; the Maiora 31DP; a custom 35M power catamaran; the Sunseeker Manhattan 63 & 73; & a Premier 38.
Boat Lagoon had the next biggest presence with nine boats on offer—a Fairlane Squadron, a Jeanneau 57, a Ferretti 510, a Wider 42 then a Princess 60, 62, 64, 72, and 82.
Simpson Marine had on display a Monte Carlo Yachts 70, a Lagoon 560 Imagine, a Lagoon 620 and brokerage Aicon 85. The Lagoons were well received with their wide spaces perfect for charter and visitors found out more about Simpson Yacht Care program. The MCY 70 once again was a crowd pleaser as her sleek lines and unique hull colour caught the attention of all.
Mike Simpson of Simpson Marine, said, "We are delighted to see big names and big boats here—this is the first time that they have been able to get into a boat show in Phuket, which is the natural first port of call for superyachts arriving in Asia. This show is the shape of things to come–and they will soon be bigger, and better."
Northrop & Johnson Asia showcased SERGE; a steel long-range (5,000nm+), semi-custom explorer yacht in brand-new condition. Seakeeper Gyro stabilisers make her a very stable and safe ocean-going expedition "trawler". In port, she is easy to dock due to her hydraulic bow and stern thrusters. This selfsustainable yacht is perfect for exploration and longocean- going passages.
Asia Marine showed off the Hip Naustic, a Numarine 78 plus it was showcasing the LAMPUGA, a surfboard with electric jet engines. Eric Noyel of Asia Marine Yacht Services, Numarine dealer, said, "This location is excellent–there is room for the Show to grow. Visitor numbers were moderate, but that is to be expected at a first show. Quality visitors are more important than quantity, and that's what we have been seeing."
"Quality visitors" and "quality enquiries" made an impression on the dealers and brokers. "Usually at boat shows in Asia we expect to meet a large number of people who have never been on a boat before, and want to 'have a look' out of sheer curiosity," said one of the internationalbrand brokers. "But here at the very first edition of TYS, we are immediately talking to visitors with genuine interest, who have done the research already, and now want to see what the product really looks like. It's very refreshing."
Both down on the docks and in the indoor pavilion, TYS has presented a first-class collection of boats and exhibitors. "It's been a rush," said Andy Treadwell. "We have put this together in a little over three months–just imagine what we can do with a full year's promotion and organization!"
The double-width pontoons allowed exhibitors to set up substantial welcome areas without obstructing traffic, making for a visitor experience very different from other boat shows. In the cool of the early evening, parties onboard yachts spilled over onto the dock, making for a great atmosphere all along the moorings. "This Show has brought a whole new standard of event to Thailand," said one dealer.
It's hard to pin down, but somehow the TYS had a truly "international" feel about it, and is bringing a whole new standard to Thailand. Andy Treadwell, creator of this event as well as of the world-renowned Singapore Yacht Show, says that it's all about "doing things properly". He brings to Asia a wealth of experience in the international boat show business. "In order to stimulate growth in the leisure marine industry in any strategic location, you have to look further afield. We have to encourage overseas yacht owners to come to discover Asia with their boats, and at the same time persuade wealthy lifestyle-seekers from all over the region to come and try out yachting. TYS is all about visibility, not only locally, but also internationally."
The function of a boat show has changed in recent years. The Internet has placed huge amounts of information within everyone's reach - you can find out the full specifications of any boat that takes your fancy just by visiting a website, and it doesn't take a visit to a boat show to discover the tank capacity of an X-Ray 65. All of which means that boat shows are less technical and more experiential than previously.
Sea-Doos, JetSurfs, jetskis, stand-up paddle boards and inflatable water toys were on display and demonstrated. One highlight was an eye-popping display of daredevil antics by the reigning Flyboard World Champion, Suksan Tongthai.
The indoor exhibitor list included property companies, bespoke furniture manufacturers, cruise charterers and marine equipment suppliers.