A new recreational marine event called the Phuket Yacht Show is planned for January 4-7, 2019. The new event will be held one week ahead of the Thailand Yacht Show & Rendezvous, which runs from January 10-13, 2019.

The new event is being held at the Royal Phuket Marina (RPM) and it is being funded by Gulu Lalvani, the owner of RPM, and an unnamed Turkish boat show operator. The show director is Andy Dowden, who formerly organised the annual PIMEX show which was acquired last year and became the Phuket Rendezvous.

“I've owned and operated boat shows in Phuket for 16 years and in my experience, combined with feedback from key stakeholders in Thailand's marine industry, RPM is the ideal host venue due to its central strategic location and boardwalk facilities,” says Dowden. “And early January is the ideal time, as that is when the highest number of globe-trotting millionaires and billionaires are on the island.”

A leading Phuket-based player in the Thai leisure marine industry who wished to remain anonymous told IBI: “This is a case of one step forward and two steps back. The cooperation announced earlier between the respective organisers of the Thai Yacht Show and the Phuket Rendezvous brought common sense to the Thai market by having just one event in Phuket plus the other main show held at the Ocean Marina in Pattaya in November. Now we have to think again.”

Asia has a somewhat volatile history when it comes to boat shows and having two events in the same location within a week of each other has to raise questions for the local industry about support for each event plus the image of the industry that the situation presents internationally.

The Phuket Yacht Show announcement talks in terms of it delivering “what the marine industry wants with centrally-located single show concept”. IBI understands from its close following of the Thai industry over recent years that the Thailand Yacht Show & Rendezvous 2019, which will be held at the Ao Po Grande marina, was originally set to be held in the previous week but the industry stakeholders asked the organisers to put it back.

A meeting of the Thai Marine Business Association (TMBA) is due to be held on Thursday and it is known that the show situation as it now exists will be discussed.

The Phuket Yacht Show announcement says it is “set to become the definitive luxury yachting and lifestyle event when it welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world to the award-winning Royal Phuket Marina from 4-7 January, 2019. Led by show director Andy Dowden and financially backed by experienced boat show operators from Turkey, Phuket Yacht Show organisers are promising to deliver the best yacht show ever seen in Phuket.”

The organisers talk of up to 120 exhibitors being resident in the 2,500sq m marina-side exhibition hall while in-the-water there is space for more than 50 yachts up to 35m (115ft). Accommodating the growing interest in superyacht sales and charter, a unique private island superyacht display will be located just five minutes from Royal Phuket Marina and accessed by private shuttle for qualified guests.

“We have a proven track record hosting boat shows for 11 years and are very proud to sign a five-year hosting deal with the show’s Turkish investors. We also have a long and successful relationship with Andy Dowden and are confident the Phuket Yacht Show team will deliver the best show Phuket has ever seen and a show that the marine industry deserves. There are some rumours that Royal Phuket Marina will be the venue for two boat shows, I would like to clarify that this is not true. The Phuket Yacht Show will be the only yacht show in Phuket and the only yacht show at Royal Phuket Marina,” commented Gulu Lalvani, chairman of Royal Phuket Marina.

“In addition to the largest and most diverse display of yachts and marine products ever, the lifestyle element of the show will be bigger than ever before. We have a number of events planned that will be part of the show including wine tastings, fashion shows, supercar parades and much more. Our aim is to make Phuket Yacht Show the ultimate four-day celebration of luxury and lifestyle on Phuket,” added Dowden.