British Marine, the owners and organisers of the London Boat Show (LBS), yesterday (15 May) announced that the 2019 Show, due to run at ExCeL London from 9-13 January 2019, will now not take place.
The decision was made after independent research showed there was insufficient support from a large proportion of the marine industry to the London Boat Show with its current format, duration and location.
This is a sad, but many would say inevitable, conclusion, as LBS has seen falling exhibitor and visitor numbers year on year, after an initial flourish of anticipation and increased visitor footfall coinciding with the move from Earls Court to ExCel in 2004.
For the Cruising Association (CA), Britain’s leading organisation for cruising sailors and motor boat cruisers, this decision reduces the opportunity for face to face recruitment, and there are some important decisions to be made regarding the future timing of events and activities that have always coincided with the LBS, such as the Med and Baltic parties and Flag Officers’ Lunch. The closure of LBS will also come as a major blow for many East Coast companies who considered LBS as ‘their’ show.
“The decision to put the London Boat Show on hold is naturally very disappointing for the British marine industry,” said David Pougher, President of British Marine, “but British Marine and its Board of Directors has a responsibility to its members and we cannot commit to running a Show which is clearly forecasted in its current format to be commercially unviable and will not meet customer satisfaction levels. By contrast the Yachtmarket.com Southampton Boat Show produces a positive contribution to the industry, is well supported by exhibitors and visitors alike and is a highly successful event and we are now able to put all our energy, expertise and enthusiasm into this event.”
On behalf of the Cruising Association, CA General Manager Lucy Gray commented, “Whatever decisions the CA Council make in response to this announcement will be made after full consultation and in the best interests of all those affected. In the meantime, we will focus our efforts and resources on the Yachtmarket.com Southampton Boat Show with a brand new stand and plenty of exciting on-stand activity, membership offers and member discounts.”