It was an extremely successful boating exposition with 15,769 people through the gates and sales in the tens of millions during the three day event proving that the inaugural Gold Coast Marine Expo has ‘put a breath of fresh air into the Australian marine industry’.
Gold Coast Marine Expo spokesman Stephen Milne said the Expo set out to achieve several key objectives and the feedback from exhibitors was a good indication that these objectives were achieved.
'The Expo set out to be a true family event with free admission to attract more new people to consider what boating has to offer, easy parking and public transport access. It was a real not-for-profit community event raising funds for local charities and showcased the skill and expertise of the businesses based in the Gold Coast Marine Precinct as well as providing a platform displaying new and pre-owned boats and creating general leads and sales in the critical pre-summer selling period,' Mr Milne said.
Day one began with the official opening by former Australian V8 Supercar champion and avid boater Russell Ingall and his family, which was followed by an entertaining line-up of events, attractions and practical demonstrations every 30 minutes across the three day event including the Westpac Rescue helicopter mock rescues, aerial shows featuring Russia’s military training YAK-52 aircraft, Kids Club, wake-boarding demonstrations, V8 superboats, factory tours and Travel Lift, boat building and repair demonstrations.
'We knew the Expo would be a popular concept for boating families but we didn’t anticipate such a record crowd for year one, 15,769 people through the gates counted independently by Rotary Club members,' Mr Milne said.
The inaugural Gold Coast Marine Expo was a huge success with many exhibitors confirming their attendance next year - Stephen Milne Click Here to view large photo
'The Gold Coast Marine Expo truly has put a much-needed breath of fresh air into the Australian marine industry at a time when both the general public and the industry were ready for a change.'
Norman Ambrose from Catalina Yachts and the Ausail Marine Group said they sold three new Catalina yachts valued at more than $1 million.
'We believe we will sell another $1 million of Catalina Yachts before Christmas as a result of the show and we look forward to next year’s Expo,' he said.
The brainchild of Queensland’s boating industry leaders, the Gold Coast Marine Expo featured hundreds of exhibits from Australia’s and the world’s leading boating brands to explore sprawled over 36 hectares.
Anthony Antees from Gold Coast Sea Doo said it was an excellent show and they received a lot of positive feedback.
'It’s the right formula with free entry, free parking, easy to get to and lots of on-water activities,' Mr Antees said.
Russell Wright from Horizon Motor Yachts said the secret to the Expo’s success and popularity was keeping it casual and the exhibitor rates affordable.
'From the start the organisers have hit on a catchy name and excellent branding. I am sure we will all be back next year,' Mr Wright said.
JD’s Boatshed at Runaway Bay is a family owned and operated boat dealership with a range of Cobalt, Formosa, Seajay, Glastron and Yamaha outboards and boats from six to 45 feet including inflatables, aluminium and fibreglass. Manager Mark Taylor said the Gold Coast Marine Expo was a huge success.
'Having participated in car and boat shows across the country since the 80s, I can honestly say that this was the very first show that supported retailers 100 per cent,' Mr Taylor said.
'I think it was a sensational effort by all, with what was an infectious energy and enthusiasm that only helped the exhibitors to maximize the opportunities before them.'
Day two featured the artists quarter auction, which began on day one where local artists arrived with a blank canvas and 24 hours to complete a nautical themed art work which was auctioned for charity at the Club Marine Carnivale of Colour held on the Saturday night and featured live entertainment from local band Kick and a spectacular fireworks display.
Raymarine Asia Pty Ltd national sales and marketing manager Mark Leach said the Gold Coast Marine Expo was a huge success for Raymarine.
'It far exceeded our expectations and we are already planning a bigger display with more staff for next year,' Mr Leach said.
'In my 13 years in this business, it is by far the best inaugural boat show that I have attended.'
Geoff Lovett International Motor Yacht Specialist executive broker Peter Lovett said the atmosphere was light, uplifting and more of a carnivale atmosphere.
'For the first year of the Gold Coast Marine Expo I thought it was definitely the way of the future,' Mr Lovett said.
'It was very well organised and achieved its aim to educate people about boating, and the fun lifestyle boating brings. I think the Gold Coast Marine Expo can only get bigger and better.'
Mr Milne said the Gold Coast Marine Expo succeeded in raising more than $12,000 for local charities Sailability, Paradise Kids, Rotary Club of Coomera River and the Wasp Creek Rural Fire Service.
'We anticipate that the Gold Coast Marine Expo could be easily twice the size next year based on the feedback and commitment we have received since last weekend,' Mr Milne said.
'The Expo really ignited interest in people that had never been to a boat show before or who had stopped going to boat shows because of the cost or accessibility. The Gold Coast Marine Expo attracted very high quality people as the sales results show with sales across all categories from kayaks and jet skis to runabouts, yachts and luxury powerboats.
'The feedback from the public was phenomenal and they really enjoyed the entertainment and non-stop activities – it was all about the industry opening its doors to the public. It’s our way of inviting people to consider the great benefits of boating at any level and this is a very sound long term strategy for our industry.'
The 2012 Gold Coast Marine Expo will be held on November 2, 3 and 4. Exhibitor information is available on the website www.gcmarineexpo.com.au