Published: Friday, 25 October 2013
Mike Fulton

The first International Boat Show and Festival (ISBF) began in Sanya, Hainan Island, China on 18 October, kicked off by the International Yachting Economy Forum and ran for four days. Over 150 delegates from China, Asia, the USA and Europe attended the forum.

Opening the forum, Peter Methven, president of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), endorsed the conference and the show and introduced the other speakers.

A total of 13 speakers presented and gave their comments. This included two from China, Zheng Weihang the Secretary General of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, who gave an update on the China boating market, and Wang Xiaolan, president of Speedo Marine, which is a leading Chinese boat dealer.

First Isbf In China Went Well Despite The Storm 1

The Chinese speakers both discussed the problems created by draconian government regulations that are stifling the growth of the boating industry in China. They called for an overhaul and simplification of these regulations and procedures to help promote boat ownership on the Mainland.

Wang pointed out: “The market is competitive for boat sales and is starting to grow again following the changes at the top levels of government in China and the tightening of both government and private sector spending in the country.”

Ben Wold, vice president of the US Trade Association the NMMA, directed his presentation towards the need to promote boating to the middle classes. He also stressed, as did others, that there was a need to promote the terms ‘Boating’ and ‘Sailing’ rather than ‘Yachting’ in order to create a more affordable image for the activity. Yachting, he surmised, gives the impression that it is just for the super rich and therefore out of reach of most enthusiasts.

The delay of two days caused by Typhoon Nari did not seem to have affected the enthusiasm of the delegates who appeared very impressed with the overall organisation of both the forum and the show.