The Sydney International Boat Show (SIBS) 2018 ended on a high note yesterday, despite a 5% fall in the number of visitors to 59,753 compared with 63,045 in 2017.

The Boating Industry Association (BIA), organiser of the show, said in a statement: “The Sydney International Boat Show for 2018 has closed, with industry participants feeling positive and buoyant about the event following some apprehension in 2017 when entering a new facility.”

Domenic Genua, event manager for the BIA, commented: “This year’s show hosted 59,753 visitors over the five days. Whilst this is 5% (or 3,292) less visitors from the 63,045 last year, it is also above expectations. Both history and research showed that an element of last year’s visitors were those inquisitive about the new facility. This bodes well for the show and is a testament to the importance of the event with the rebound from our days at Glebe Island continuing.”

SIBS returned last year to a central site of the Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC) and Cockle Bay marina in Darling Harbour. This was after three years of having a split site while the ICC was built.

It is known that a sizeable amount of business was achieved during the event, but with the show only just ending full details will take a little longer. As the largest such event in the Southern Hemisphere, the show reflected the growing strength of the Australian marine recreational market which has been improving over the past two or three years.

SIBS 2018, the 51st edition, included some 250 exhibitors and around 1,000 boats with over 200 afloat in the marina, which for this year was named in memory of David Lockwood, the leading Australian marine journalist who recently passed away.

On display at the show was an array of products that assisted existing boaties to upgrade and improve their vessels, as well as helping those new to the lifestyle learn about how they can venture into boating for the first time. The boat show fulfils many things for many people.  As an industry, the BIA was able to share the benefits of the recreational marine lifestyle.

President of the BIA, Alan Blake, said: “We made a few changes to the venue layout and signage this year to assist with visitor traffic flow and experience. Along with the impressive industry response presenting A class exhibits, visitors to the show enjoyed an exceptional opportunity to satisfy their expectations and to help make their time on the water safer and more fun.”

“Overall, a positive result for everyone,” Domenic Genua added.

The show dates for 2019 are August 1-5.