The third edition of Boat Show Sri Lanka was opened on Friday morning by the Hon Rishad Bathiudeen the Minister of Industry and Commerce for the country. The event is organised by the Sri Lanka Boat Building and Technology Improvement Institute at the modern BMICH exhibition centre in the centre of Colombo and is supported by 40 mainly local companies.  The visitor profile on the first day included not only locals but boat buyers and industry trade members from India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the Maldive Islands.

In his opening address the Minister “Emphasized the Governments support of the industry which is already seen as a manufacturing hub for boats in South Asia with 7 companies already active in exporting fibre glass boats”.

Sri Lanka has been very active in the past 30 years as a sub contract building centre for European brands in Holland and the UK. Although the sub contract business has slowed in line with the global recession Sri Lankan builders are still busy with servicing the Indian Ocean market for marine tourism, ferries, workboats and fishing boats with customers as far afield as Mauritius, Seychelles, East Africa and the Maldives. The industry is also starting to promote its own brand boats with an eye on the developing markets in Asia which it is well placed geographically to serve.

Neil Fernando, chairman of the Boat Building Technology Institute, said that “I am very pleased at the growth of the event since its inception in 2008 and with the relaxing of restrictions on leisure boating after three decades of conflict in the north of the country we are seeing a large increase in tourism much of it related to water sports activities. It’s only a matter of time before local people as well as tourists can enjoy the boating lifestyle”.

The show runs until Sunday and on Saturday includes a conference on the development of leisure boating with International speakers in attendance.