The 2020 Korea International Boat Show will take place in March instead of May

The organisers of the Korea International Boat Show (KIBS) announced at this week’s METSTRADE Show in Amsterdam that the 2020 edition of KIBS will take place from March 13-15, bringing it forward from its previous May timing. The show will also combine with an existing fishing show in order to leverage on the eight million active participants in sea fishing in Korea. The joining of the two shows is expected to double the show size in 2020.

Sea fishing is extremely popular and a large driver of the boating industry in Korea. A weekend visit to Jeongok port near Seoul by IBI’s Asia correspondent last May showed of evidence of strong growth over previous years in trailer-mounted boats used for fishing and island hopping with packed trailer parks and slipways.

The latest leisure boat registration figures released by KIBS at METSTRADE showed 3,134 new boats and PWCs of all types were registered in 2018. Although the rate of growth in boat numbers has declined in recent years, down from 3,465 in 2017 and 4,863 in 2016, it’s still positive news given the tightening economy across Asia and in Korea, which has reduced consumer spending power for high-end leisure products. This is cited by local industry experts as a key reason for a market slowdown, especially with the larger leisure boat sector in Korea.

Leisure boating in Korea requires a driving licence issued by the Korea Coast Guard and total licence issue has now reached 227,966 by 2018, some eight times more than the total leisure boat population of 27,515. This has raised speculation in industry circles about the high number of unregistered leisure boats in the market.

Development of leisure boating in Korea has always been well supported by the central and provincial governments, which has been fundamental in the growth of marina numbers which have now reached 32 and are forecast to increase to 39 by 2020.

According to Tim Coventry, advisor to KIBS: “The government have been supporting a program of training for the last four years of marine technicians and in 2020 it will become law that only properly trained and certified technicians can work on leisure boats.”

Dr Chung Hwan Kim, KIBS show manager, told IBI: “We are combining with Korea International Fishing Show (KOFISH) which alone has 50,000 visitors who are crazy about going fishing on the sea using a large number of small and medium-size charter fishing boats. Increasingly these fishing enthusiasts are considering purchasing their own boat so they can fish independently. By combining the fishing and the boat show we will have the potential for 90,000 visitors in 2020. In addition to the focus on fishing, we will have special sections for luxury yachts, workboats, and some for divers with seminars and workshops both for consumers and the trade. The show will double in size to some 50,000sq m of floor space.”

Fishing is a year-round activity in Korea, despite the cold temperature that can easily reach -10C in the winter. Boats that have weather protection from the cold and the heat in the summer are well-suited to this market.