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Liverpool Boat Show is off

Worldwide slump in luxury yacht market blamed for 'appalling news'

Published on February 16th 2011.

Liverpool Boat Show is off

THE Liverpool Boat Show, which was being touted as one of the city's main events of 2011, has been cancelled.

A slump in the demand for luxury yachts has been blamed.

Consequently, exhibitor take-up for the event had been slow. Added to that, the recent Boat Show at London's Earl's Court was a flop, which appears to have prompted organisers, of the inaugural Liverpool show , Marine Industry Exhibitors, to pull the plug.

They themselves describe it as “apalling news”. It had been estimated that £30m of leisure and tourism cash could have flowed into the city, as a result of the show, with up to 300,000 people attending.

Now Liverpool Vision and the city council are said to be trying to salvage the entertainment events – comedy festival, sea shanty festival - which were planned to run concurrently with the three day event at the end of April.

MIE cited the damaging effects of the economic climate in the leisure marine sector impacting on exhibitor take-up for the event and said “the integrity of the long term potential for a major boat show in Liverpool needed to be protected”.

Rob Mackenzie, Managing Director of MIE, said: “Our decision is obviously appalling news and it has been an extremely difficult decision to take, not least because of the enormous sense of responsibility and partnership we feel for everyone in Liverpool.

“The failure and the financial loss and its consequences is MIE’s to bear alone, but it is better to cancel the show to protect Liverpool’s reputation rather than to allow exhibitors who booked in good faith and visitors who would have travelled from all over the country in expectation of the participation of brands who’d made late decisions not to take part.

“More than anything else, we’ve cancelled the show to protect the integrity of what we know to be the enormous long term potential for a major Boat Show in Liverpool.”

The Liverpool Boat Show was launched 18 months ago. The concept of a major national event based in the North and serving the wealthy and rapidly expanding sailing and watersports communities around the Irish Sea was said to have been widely welcomed by the specialist marine press.

However from late November 2010, say organisers, market sentiment about the economic outlook deteriorated rapidly affecting confidence in boat manufacturers, dealers, smaller retailers and traders.

This negative trend accelerated sharply in late January, they added, with many contracted exhibitors citing a commercially disastrous London Boat Show as the catalyst for their decisions to withdraw from Liverpool, said Mr Mackenzie.

Mr Mackenzie said: “So many of the marine industry’s key players and its press have now seen and understood the unique possibilities of a Liverpool Boat Show, and it is only the consequence of disastrous market conditions which have forced the industry to draw back from embracing the concept fully.

“That long term prize will now fall to organisations other than MIE to deliver. After a period of reflection, and when the market improves, I believe the industry will collectively recognise the strategic opportunity missed and Liverpool will eventually stage the uniquely vibrant boat show we have tried so very hard to bring to the city.”

Cllr Wendy Simon, cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “It is extremely disappointing that the economic downturn affecting the whole of the maritime sector has caused MIE to cancel the inaugural Liverpool Boat Show.

“We are very aware of the economic impact this will have on our tourism economy. However the boat show is just one of three major maritime events we have in place and we will look to those to mitigate the effects for those businesses concerned.

We worked extremely hard to make the Boat Show happen in Liverpool this year as it would have been a great showcase event for the city. However, we have the building blocks in place to stage other exciting maritime events and to revive the Boat Show in the future when the national economic outlook recovers.”

Discussions between LCC and other local partners have now started on whether an alternative event can be staged, but MIE will have no further involvement in this process.

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said: “We have already started to consider what we can do to minimise the economic impact of the cancellation of the Liverpool Boat Show.

“There has already been significant investment by MIE and British Waterways in establishing world-class berthing and staging facilities and we intend to use them to the city’s best advantage.”

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captain ahabFebruary 14th 2011.

more like rats off a sinking ship

Von GelbFebruary 15th 2011.

Cameron's fault. Him and Osborne wrecking the economy.

Iain ChristieFebruary 15th 2011.

For those of you worried about the Comedy Festival in all of this then you can breathe a sigh of relief. Although we moved our dates to coincide with the Boat Show (and the thousands of visitors that it would bring) we are not going down with the ship. This will be the 10th annual Liverpool Comedy Festival so all should be plain sailing for us. Go to liverpoolcomedyfestival.com to book some tickets and support us by being made to laugh in exchange for money.

Sarjeant-at-armsFebruary 18th 2011.

Only the tenth annual comedy festival? I remember taking part in one long before 2001; the Awfully Church of England Theatre Company (incorporating the Happy as Larry Players) ably directed by Mr. Gary Everett performed at the Albert Dock, the Unity Theatre and appeared on Granada Television with Dermot Murnaghan.

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