Thailand Yacht Show reveals bold plans for 2022

Event will become centrepiece of a new Festival of Luxury Tourism, organisers say, although dates are still to be confirmed. Meanwhile, controversy continues to simmer over a new, competing boat show recently announced for Phuket

author icon By APB Staff | 8 October 2021

Thailand Yacht Show

Ao Po Grand Marina

The sixth edition of the Thailand Yacht Show, which has been postponed for the past 18 months due to ongoing Covid restrictions, has confirmed it is gearing up for an event in 2022. 

Show organisers Verventia say the show will be the central event in a new Festival of Luxury Tourism, which has been proposed to the Thai government by Verventia and is designed to help re-position Phuket as a destination for high-net-worth tourists.

The proposal is aligned with the ‘Phuket transformation’ initiative recently set out by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, which aims to attract up to a million ‘high-quality’ foreign travellers in the next six months. 

The proposed Festival of Luxury Tourism event would feature combined events showcasing high-end products such as private jets, classic cars and electric cars, wellness and healthcare, art and culture, in a bid to draw in high-net-worth visitors from across the region.

Verventia say they are cautiously optimistic that the pandemic will be brought under control and the population adequately protected, enabling Thailand Yacht Show to be staged in the first quarter of 2022.

“Arrangements are being kept flexible in line with the industry’s wishes and the government’s advice, ensuring a timetable with which all strategic partners are comfortable given the ongoing situation,” states Verventia.

Verventia CEO Andy Treadwell says they will not confirm a date or location for the show until cases have declined. “With people and businesses suffering badly and the government resolutely and completely correctly putting safety first, we believe it would be highly insensitive, at best, to announce that the virus will have gone away and borders re-opened until it is fact,” he says. “We believe this is unlikely to be the case in just three months from now. We will stage the show when we and all our clients, partners and stakeholders feel it is safe to do so which we sincerely hope will be early next year.”

CEO Andy Treadwell at Thailand Yacht Show 2018

In July this year, Thai-based company JAND Events announced the inaugural Thailand International Boat Show at Phuket Royal Marina, which is due to take place from January 6-9, 2022, in Thailand Yacht Show’s traditional timeslot. It is a move that raised eyebrows in some quarters.

“Having had to postpone no less than five shows over the past two years, Verventia CEO Andy Treadwell has refused to make any premature announcements about definitive dates for the reopening, despite pressure from newly-hatched competitors with no experience trying to hijack the show,” Verventia says tersely.

Whether or not the region’s industry players and visitors have the appetite for two Phuket shows close together remains to be seen. Several major brands and dealers have already confirmed their attendance at the Thailand Yacht Show, including Simpson Marine, Ferretti Group, Multihull Solutions and Princess Yachts. All four companies have offered vocal support to Verventia. 

Royal Phuket Marina

“We definitely do not need another boat show [in Phuket],” says Princess chief marketing officer Kiran Haslam. “If a new organiser wants to be involved, they need to come together strategically with the existing organisers and agree on how they can best represent the industry. We like the idea of a single show covering a larger territory across Asia Pacific, with the tried and tested partners with whom we have worked for the past ten years who can operate a show like the Singapore Yacht Show and deliver a truly positive and genuine experience for our customers.”

Richard Allen, General Manager of Simpson Marine, also made his feelings clear: “We do not need another show in Thailand and with the Covid situation in SEA at present, [even] if there was a show taking place in January, we would not attend,” he says. 

“The Verventia team has over the last few years been very active in getting the Thai government to understand the potential economic benefits for their country by allowing superyachts to charter here. Now this has finally been approved, I am certain we will see tremendous growth in the boating industry at large. I just wish everybody would get behind [Verventia] and help them grow the Thailand Yacht Show. We don’t need opportunists trying to jump the bandwagon, destroying the momentum and causing confusion.”

More than 100 exhibitors are expected to showcase their products at the Thailand Yacht Show when it takes place next year. With the tentative success of the ‘Phuket sandbox’ initiative, which is encouraging vaccinated tourists to visit the Thai island, it will hopefully not be too long before dates can be confirmed.