After four whirlwind days at Ao Po Grand Marina, the Thailand Yacht Show 2016 closed its doors on Sunday night, and organisers were able to reflect on a successful presentation of yachting to Thailand, and of Thailand to the world.
With 60 exhibitors, and no less than 55 vessels on display including 18 superyachts, the second edition of the Thailand Yacht Show in partnership with the Thailand government was most certainly ‘bigger and better’ than any before – a good sign of things to come as the show matures over the next few years.
At the Opening Ceremony, managing director Andy Treadwell addressed the crowds with a clear mission: “Our aim is to […] position Thailand as the natural destination capital for yachting in Asia, as well as the preferred winter destination for the global superyacht fleet.” He went on to explain that attracting charter superyachts and stimulating boating and yachting in Thailand would trigger a major economic impact for the country’s economy by bringing in the highest-spending tourism sector in the world, as well as creating jobs, global high-end PR, and stimulating inward investment.
Clearly heartfelt speeches followed from the Minister of Tourism & Sport Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Deputy Minister of Transport Omsin Chivapruk, Chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Kalin Sarasin, and the Guest of Honour, Deputy Prime Minister General Thanasak Patimaprakorn. Each confirmed their delight with progress being made by the TYS team, and reaffirmed their government’s commitment to boosting marine tourism and simplifying and streamlining regulations.
It was a very busy four days. In addition to the sparkling display of yachts and superyachts presented along the pontoons of Ao Po Grand Marina – spectacularly situated in the middle of the world-class cruising destination that is Phang Nga Bay – the Demo Platform by Java Yachting offered live demonstrations of dinghy sailing, SUP, dragon boating and kayaking and encouraged visitors to take part themselves.
On land there was the Exhibition Pavilion, featuring luxury lifestyle companies, the very finest in Phuket property, and of course plenty of nautical ancillaries.
The social scene at TYS was electric – from the Opening Party at d’Deck sponsored by Sevenstar Yacht Transport to the Closing Extravaganza on board the appropriately-named HYPE, the fun never seemed to stop. Titan Brokers threw an extravagant party for an extraordinary guest list on board the 90m Lauren L. There was much celebration on board the iconic Ocean Emerald (41m), both cruising out to sea and partying on the dock. International brokers Burgess invited VIP guests to a sophisticated evening on board the elegant 50m Northern Sun, and the shows biggest exhibitor Lee Marine also hosted a spectacular party for clients and industry partners… in short, there seemed to be a party ‘going off’ somewhere just about all the time. Throughout the four days, the pop-up bars and hospitality suites along the pontoons kept the festive atmosphere going permanently
Many exhibitors attested to the quality of visitors to the Show. “You only need to get one or two really good leads to make attendance worthwhile,” said Della Rudgee, Senior Broker at Singapore-based Hong Seh. “We feel that the Thailand Yacht Show is complementary to the Singapore Yacht Show, and this is the place to exhibit in Thailand.”
“Thailand needs more visibility around the world,” reports Ron Patston, CEO of Gulf Charters, based at Jomtien Beach on the Gulf of Thailand. “The Thailand Yacht Show and the Thailand Yachting Forum are doing a good job of spreading the word. Not just about Phuket – the islands around Koh Chang are some of the best cruising grounds in the world, and we are here to help make more noise about it. Thailand Yacht Show is the place to see and be seen in Thailand. It provides a good boost for the marine leisure industry in this part of the world.”
“We are at the Thailand Yacht Show to talk to people, to make contacts, to network,” says Marieke Derks of Sevenstar Yacht Transport. “Thailand is a growing market for yachting, and we are here to benefit from the Show’s visibility and talk to the other exhibitors.”
“As the marine leisure industry grows in Thailand, so will the demand for infrastructure.” Matthew Na Nagara, General Manager of Port Takola Marina, opening in early 2017. “We are here to spread the news, to raise our visibility.” LuxBerths, a brand new captain-to-marina online berth booking system, actually timed their soft launch to coincide with the Thailand Yacht Show. “This is where the boats are” said James Wickens, Managing Director, “so this is where we need to be as we launch this new global product.”
It’s not just dealers and brokers that are attracted to the Thailand Yacht Show. Sunbrella was there, manufacturer of the world’s very finest and best-known outdoor fabrics – good on your superyacht, good on your patio (or deck!). The Galileo Maritime Academy was also prominent – a relatively young enterprise but “well on the way to becoming the number 1 maritime academy in the world.”
The combination of the Thailand Yachting Forum and the Thailand Yacht Show has this year proved to be unbeatable. Putting together the knowledge and expertise of the Thai government ministries, the Thai Marine Business Association and the TYS show team proved to be a winner.
The third edition of the Thailand Yacht Show will take place between 14-17 December 2017. Brought to you by the organisers of the Singapore Yacht Show, these two complementary shows are timed to book-end industry activity in the region. Singapore is Asia’s main business hub, attracting wealthy entrepreneurs from all over the region, while Thailand is by far the biggest and best yachting destination. With its warm hospitality and a profusion of extraordinarily beautiful cruising grounds, an increasing number of boaters and yacht owners are visiting Thailand.