This year’s Boat Show & Boating Festival Sri Lanka, to be held in Galle at the end of October, has been declared a ‘plastic-free zone’ in a move to create awareness of the high levels of plastic pollution in the seas – an increasing and growing problem across the planet.

The theme of this year’s show is ‘Reducing Plastic Pollution in the Worlds Oceans’.

Announcing this decision last week in Colombo, Gamini Herath, managing director of event organiser the Boat Building Technology and Improvement Institute (BTI), said: “The industry and the government in Sri Lanka have become very concerned about the amount of plastic waste that is appearing in our seas. We feel that we need to make a statement on this at our event. F&B outlets will not be allowed to sell products in plastic bottles and packaging and we will also be asking our guests and visitors not to bring in plastic packaging, although we will be providing recycling facilities on site. There will be displays and workshops on the theme for the public and industry.”

The BTI says it is expecting a considerable number of visitors for the three-day Boat Show & Boating Festival, held in the Port of Galle in the south of Sri Lanka from October 26-28.

Talking about the boating market in Sri Lanka, Herath says: “The Sri Lanka marine tourism, leisure boating and workboat market is on a growth track. The new government has given top priority to growing marine tourism and the domestic leisure boating market in Sri Lanka while the surrounding countries of the Maldives and India are also strong markets with links to Sri Lanka. Our boat manufacturing industry, which survived well in difficult years, is having a new boost from the government support being channelled through the BTI. The show, now in its sixth edition, has also helped promote the capability of the Sri Lanka boatbuilders.”

This year’s event in Galle will comprise a Boat and Equipment display and strong marine festival component following the vision of the show ‘to promote the boating lifestyle’. This will include a nautical fashion show, live music, children’s activities, competitions, heritage displays and watersports demonstrations in the marina.