A boat show that generated £1 million worth of business and brought a touch of James Bond glamour to North Wales is back.
The second All Wales Boat Show will be held at Conwy Quay Marina from May 30 to June 1 and will be officially opened by the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, who hailed the event as shot in the arm for the economy.
Organisers are promising even more glitz this year.
Sunseeker Yachts – whose cruisers have featured prominently in several Bond movie blockbusters – are returning with an even bigger vessel.
In addition, two other luxury motorboat makers, Fairline and Sealine, will also be dipping their toe in the water this year, along with high end sailboats from Hanse and Delher
Meanwhile, there will be luxury cars from Rolls Royce, Bentley and McLaren and even a helicopter.
At the other end of the spectrum, there will be coracles and bath-tub racing.
The show is being billed as a Celebration of Welsh Coast Life and the aim is to tap into the huge potential of the marine leisure industry which already pumps around £200 million into the Welsh economy every year.
A study following the inaugural All-Wales Boat Show last year revealed £1 million of regional business had been done as a result of the event – including £620,000 in boat sales.
Among those interviewed as part of the economic impact survey conducted by Bangor University was George Hill, brokerage manager of Bangor-based Dickies International, who sold two luxury motor yachts.
“I’m very glad we decided to exhibit at the show, which has obviously been great for our business as selling two boats like this in a week is fantastic.”
William Burns from the Sunseeker sales team added: ““As we have just opened a new office at Knutsford in Cheshire this show is just perfect for us to bring in potential customers from across the North West of England and Wales.”
The 2014 event will be held over three days instead of five and will be staged on a single site on the Conwy side of the estuary instead of being split over two locations.
Deputy Minister Ken Skates attended last year and is looking forward to making a return visit.
He said: “The fact that the inaugural event generated £1 million worth of regional business demonstrates the vast potential of the marine industry in terms of boosting the economy.
“This area in particular has some real advantages which I call the three big Cs – the cost of sailing is less, it has a coastline you would struggle to find better anywhere and the clarity of its water.
“The All-Wales Boat Show is the perfect showcase for all these advantages and I am delighted I have been invited back this year.
“The Welsh Government is determined to see the marine leisure industry grow and that coastal communities benefit from this expanding market.”
There was an equally positive message from Steve Morgan, Chief Executive of the Welsh Yachting Association.
He said: “Our ambition to make Wales one of the best places in the world to be a sailor.
“The marine leisure industry in Wales is a major player in terms of economic development and it needs the All-Wales Boat Show.”
Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of show organisers Sbarc, was “very excited” by the prospects for this year’s event.
.She said: “The backdrop for the show is stunningly beautiful and the location just off the A55 is perfect in terms of accessibility.
“We’re trying to promote the marine sector obviously but also the fact that we’re different in the sense that we’ve got the mountains behind us which brings in the outdoor sector and the two do go hand in hand when you visit North Wales.
“This year we decided to simplify the infrastructure by concentrating on one site and we will be working in close cooperation with the town of Conwy.
“We’ve got some new sports coming on board this year, including wind surfing and wakeboarding. We’ve even got an indoor challenge with a sailing simulator and there will also be a boat jumble where people will be able to buy parts for their boats.
“Things are coming together extremely well and it promises to be a fantastic event which will provide a foundation for building on the potential of the marine sector in creating wealth and employment.”