New Cape Town International Boat Show owner Messe Frankfurt has confirmed a new partnership agreement with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to host an expanded edition of the popular boating event.

The launch edition of the V&A's Ocean Life festival will be incorporated into this year's Cape Town show, just one of several new features likely to bolster attendance, according to Messe Frankfurt Cape Town Boat Show manager Kathryn Frew. “What it means is that we will get additional exposure through the V&A Waterfront databases,” Frew said.

She said the V&A is also looking to incorporate a film festival into the expanded event. “They are looking at how we can expand the show to create something more like the Miami Boat Show feel,” Frew said. “We've got some great feedback from exhibitors already who have expressed their wish to go bigger at the show this year.”

Frew said Messe Frankfurt is looking to add an additional 150-200 exhibitor stands. The company, which recently acquired the Johannesburg Boat Show, is also looking at potential involvement in major sailing events at the V&A, such as the Clipper and the Volvo races.

Other innovative features on this year's Cape Town itinerary include live music and a floating island.  “There are lots of new marketing initiatives. Our [Messe Frankfurt] marketing is increasing by almost 300% at the shows [Cape Town and Johannesburg],” Frew said.

Now into its 18th year, the Cape Town International Boat Show is considered the premier boating and luxury lifestyle show in the Western Cape province – the centre of the country's boatbuilding industry. Messe Frankfurt organises 134 trade fairs in over 50 countries, making it the world's third largest trade fair company.

Messe Frankfurt South Africa chief executive Constantin von Vieregge said the company would seek to include more 'interactive elements'. “We are focused on creating a platform where exhibitors will sell more boats and associated products,” von Vieregge said in a statement released at the conclusion of last year's show.