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PHOTO: Marine Scene Asia
Opinion by Paul Poole
An article in the Phuket Gazette on 30 November 2017 welcomed the annual boat show season in Thailand. It raises the question, “is there room for three boat shows each year?”
 Original story HERE.
The question is worth considering as boat show season kicks off for 2017/2018, with a steady stream of boat shows and yachting events scheduled around the Kingdom for the next 3-4 months.
The Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show started the season off at the end of November, the inaugural Phuket Rendezvous (an evolution of the long-standing Phuket International Boat Show – PIMEX) will take place at Royal Phuket Marina in the beginning of January 2018, and the Thailand Yacht Show has been rescheduled for 22-25 February 2018 at the Ao Po Grand Marina. In addition, the yearly regatta calendar is becoming increasingly busy, with at least eight major regattas scheduled for 2018.
The simple answer to the question is ‘yes’, there is enough room in Thailand for three boat shows. However, the current arrangements are not sustainable due to the following reasons…
 1. Geography
The current concentration around Phuket is not sustainable in the long run. It is my firm belief that Phuket can only accommodate one boat show due to the size of the yachting industry, both in terms of yacht sales and yacht charter, the latter stalled by the delay in the government’s proposed charter licence. Therefore, it would make more sense to widen the geographic spread of the boat shows to include one show in Bangkok, one show in Pattaya and one show on Phuket.
 2. Competition
In a similar vein as the point above, the competition between the boat shows is not sustainable. Although all three boat shows have unique selling points, they are ultimately all competing for the same sponsors, partners, exhibitors and, in the case of the Phuket Rendezvous and the Thailand Yacht Show, the same visitors. A similar pattern repeats itself when it comes to regattas. Both shows and regattas are currently struggling to deliver the required ROI (return on investment) and ROO (return on objective) to sponsors, partners and exhibitors, which brings me to my next point…
3. Lack of collaboration
One of the major issues with the current number of boat shows and regattas is that each event is being marketed, organised, sold and hosted in isolation of other yachting events. Granted, boat shows and, to some extent, regattas are commercial enterprises, a fact that poses challenges to collaboration; however, I believe there is something to be learnt from mass participation events, such as marathons or triathlons. These events largely work collaboratively for the benefit of the wider community and industry; for example, anyone visiting any of the marathon or triathlon expos around the Kingdom will see other marathons and triathlons exhibiting to promote their own races. This kind of approach creates value for sponsors, partners, exhibitors, visitors, participants and the wider community and helps grow and improve the industry as a whole.
4. Misconceptions about sponsorship
Millions of baht are paid in sponsorship to yachting events every year, and the success or failure of a particular event often depends on the sponsorship deals it manages to secure. Sadly, we still see a significant portion of custodians who view sponsorship as free money or a charitable donation and, as a result, fail to provide the ROI and ROO that the sponsors expect and deserve. The result is unsatisfied sponsors, inadequately organised events and a failure to realise the true potential of a ‘property’.
If the above issues are acknowledged and actively and collectively addressed, there is certainly enough room in Thailand for three boat shows and a full regatta calendar. However, if the current fragmented and self-serving approach is allowed to continue, it will not only hurt the industry as a whole, it will sooner or later also hurt the very people and organisations that are trying to grow it.
Paul Poole is the founder, managing director and chairman of Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand. The company specialises in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands. Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., has packaged, sold and managed sponsorship and partnership opportunities for a number of Southeast Asia’s leading yachting events, including Asia Superyacht Rendezvous, Asian Yachting Grand Prix, Bay Regatta, Boat Asia, Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous, Neptune Regatta, Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show, Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), Phuket Raceweek, Royal Langkawi International Regatta, Samui Regatta, Singapore Yacht Show, Top of the Gulf Regatta, and Thailand Yacht Show.
CONTACT: [email protected] \ www.paulpoole.co.th

- Phuket Gazette & The Nation