New features at Boat Show 2018 | Sunday Observer

New features at Boat Show 2018

The sixth edition of the Sri Lanka Boat Show 2018 will be held from October 26-28 in the Galle harbour premises with several new features.

“The boat show this year will be held on a different format and it will not only showcase boats, but will be a product show as well. The boating festival aims to provide some kind of leisure activity to the public related to the boating industry.

The event is expected to generate public interest while educating them on the boating lifestyle. “This is the first time that a comprehensive boat show is being held in the country,” Advisor to the Boat Show and Market Researcher and Business Planner for the maritime industry, Mike Derrett said.

The boating festival will cover several aspects of the boat industry which will help develop the boat building market, boating related tourism and the maritime industry. The show will stimulate people to go to the beach to explore and enjoy while also encouraging them to engage in windsurfing and boat riding, he said.

Sri Lanka has a growing middle class and boating could be introduced as a leisure activity.

Derrett has vast experience in the boating industry and was hired by one of the provinces in South Korea to create a boating festival. The event was highly successful.

The number of leisure boats in Korea has grown from 5,000 in 2006 to 35,000 in 2017. The growth recorded was 10 percent in the past ten years and has become a growing industry in Korea.

“We expect the boat festival to stimulate public interaction and provide fun. It will also provide impetus for long term growth of the boating industry which will have spin-off effects for the country. Its growth will boost inward tourism and will enhance investments in maritime tourism,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s beautiful coastline has a lot of potential to promote the boating industry and should concentrate on water related activities to attract more tourists.

The Show will encourage boat builders and enhance the potential for exports. There are good bases for marinas and the country needs to build at least 10 more marinas to cater to the growing global nautical tourism demand. Cruise ships which are keen to visit the country should be provided with upgraded facilities to move ahead at a competitive cost, he said.

The industry looks forward to form joint ventures with leading boat manufacturers to develop and expand the sector. The Poland boat building industry has shown keen interest in this regard and Sri Lanka expects to benefit from its expertise.

The boat building industry recorded US $ 97 million in exports last year without considering re-exports.

The industry has now improved its production and model of boats. Earlier they only produced 45-50 foot boats and today, they also produce 55-foot vessels. The country is looking at Seashells, Mauritius and Maldives as immediate export markets and also exploring the possibility of entering African markets such as Kenya and Tanzania as well to market fishing boats, Chairman Export Development Board Advisory Committee on Boat and Ship Building, Gamini B. Herath said.

“The industry has introduced a few new designs for leisure boats which include sail boats and catamaran types. There are seven boat exporters at present and an equal number of boat services in operation in the country.

These vessels are chartered for whale watching and other leisure activities. Catamarans are very stable boats used for leisure fishing. We build fairly long vessels for pleasure and able to accommodate 12 to 15 passengers,” he said.

“The leisure boats market in Sri Lanka is small. We expect the Boat Show to increase the market for leisure boats and are keen to set up joint ventures to develop the local boat building industry,” Herath said.