The 2016 London International Boat Show (LIBS) opens at time of serious challenges in the UK marine leisure industry. In the two days before the show opens, the country’s leading boatbuilders, Princess Yachts and Sunseeker International, have respectively announced the cutting of 350 jobs and the creation of 225 jobs.
LIBS, one the two international boating showcase events in Britain, runs from January 8-17 at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands. The organisers, National Boat Shows (NBS), is hopeful that the increase in patronage recorded in 2015 will be repeated, beating the 92,288 visitors last year which was a 4% rise on 2014.
To attract visitors there is a wide range of stands accommodating over 350 companies with nearly 300 craft of all sizes on show. In addition there are two other shows to which visitors gain free entry; these being the Telegraph Cruise Show and Telegraph Travel Show. In addition, LIBS includes a number of different events and experiences within the show to attract visitors and especially families.
British Marine, the sector’s trade body and parent of NBS, will be actively promoting the UK industry through such happenings as the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event and its annual technical seminar, which address key relevant areas.
In addition to the exhibitors, there are nearly 300 boats and yachts of all sizes for visitors to view with the largest being the Sunseeker 131, which is the largest craft ever shown at LIBS. Princess, despite its announced workforce cut, will have a very strong presence with 11 yachts on show including a number of world debuts.
The one yacht builder that will be missed is Fairline, which entered administration last month with the loss of 450 jobs.
LIBS 2016 will provide the opportunity for industry players and observers alike to assess the true health of the industry and gauges the prospects that 2016 hold.