The last of the joint founders of the Cape Town International Boat Show bowed out on a high after 17 years staging the country’s most prestigious boating and watersports event this past weekend.
‘It has been an incredible journey, taking something from a concept to a show that could be replicated uninterrupted every year. The fact that an international group like Messe Frankfurt have now taken over the show is a clear signal they see an even bigger future for this event,’ says co-founder Dana Whiting.
‘Once again the Cape weather gods smiled on us this year and we were blessed with excellent conditions, making the water-sports – sailing and stand-up paddling a huge hit with the more energetic visitors. Initial feedback from exhibitors has also been very positive. Boats and their related activities are not cheap anymore and can be a tough sell in our prevailing economic conditions. But it’s a credit to the quality of our local manufacturers that business was considered to be brisk. As with most events of this kind, the final deals are only completed over the next few days and weeks.’
Messe Frankfurt South Africa, a subsidiary of the third largest trade fair company in the world, is a global leader in the exhibition sector with operations across 28 different countries. The company is well established in SA and is the proud organiser of the South African Festival of Motoring, the Johannesburg Boat & Water Show, Automechanika Johannesburg and the Futuroad Expo.
‘We are really excited about taking over the Cape Town International Boat Show,’ says Constantin von Vieregge, CEO of Messe Frankfurt South Africa. ‘We are focussed on creating a platform where exhibitors will sell more boats and associated products. We want to increase aspiration and showcase the lifestyle of the industry by including more interactive elements. We also look to incorporate government involvement in the form of round table discussions.’
Messe Frankfurt’s global connections across a number of exhibitions will be a ready platform to add new elements to the Cape Town version. There are considerations to increase the business-to-business aspect of the show, and perhaps look at a conference component that will help bring in visitors from across the continent and globe.
‘The founders have done a great job in getting the Boat Show to this point. We are confident that we can take it to the next level by attracting even more people to come and enjoy the experiential aspects of life on the water. Coupled with the natural beauty Cape Town has to offer and the iconic V&A Waterfront as a venue, I’m sure we can soon position this event among the world’s best boat shows,’ concludes von Vieregge.
The dates for next year are 19 to 21 October 2018.