by Jeni Bone
Despite rumours in the media, from esteemed mastheads that should know better than to publish industry gossip, and from quarters of the industry who should also be above the 'scuttlebutt' as it was described, the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is alive and well and fully supported by its owners, Mulpha Developments.
Sanctuary Cove - a superlative show.
Speaking over the weekend, while all hands are on deck involved in preparations for the 2011 event, Sue Thomson, Sanctuary Cove General Manager Events and Marketing, said emphatically that the show has the '100% commitment from Mulpha and everybody involved in organising the event'.
'We have a dedicated group of people working around the clock, as hard as ever, to make sure this show serves both industry and consumers and is the best boat show ever. We have added other themes to ensure the longevity of the event and as our commitment to industry.'
In fact, as Sue pointed out, there are plenty of talented people brainstorming for the celebrations to suit the upcoming 25th anniversary in 2013.
'We wouldn’t be going to all the trouble of forward planning for the 25th anniversary, or for this year’s major activities like bringing Carla Demaria here from Italy, adding the ‘Women on Water’ program and seminars if we weren’t investing in the longevity of the boat show for many, many years to come.'
Sue Thomson - joining Sanctuary Cove with a formidable background in tourism, marketing, communications and events.
Sue acknowledged that several of the industry’s major players, such as Sunseeker, Yamaha and Fairline will not be in attendance. 'But it’s a combination of factors at play. A few of them have no stock. Production has slowed because orders have slowed and they have chosen not to attend. The GFC has lingered in the marine sector longer than other industries. But it’s not always going to be this way, and these brands and dealers will we hope return to the show next year.'
Sue revealed she wasn't aware of the persistent murmur that had surrounded the event for several months. 'The first I heard of it was when the Sydney Morning Herald journalist, David Lockwood called me and I told him the same thing I am telling you: there is no indication that Mulpha is anything but 100% committed to the boat show.'
A newcomer to the marine industry, but no stranger to organising events on a massive scale (and dealing with a multitude of different interest groups and stakeholders), Sue said she was 'surprised and saddened' by the gossip.
'Tough times call for unity and a positive approach by all of industry at every level.'
Barry Jenkins, the effervescent and indefatigable Sanctuary Cove proponent, also contributes to many industry committees. Said Sue: 'Barry spends much of the year visiting international events and boat shows and flying the flag for Sanctuary Cove to garner support and visitation for the boat show. I am attending the ICOMIA-IFBSO (International Federation of Boat Show Organisers) Congress in June in Rotterdam to find out more about running successful boat shows. This shows our commitment to growing the event and delivering results for exhibitors.'
Rather than spreading the gossip, Sue recommended an industry strategy to 'unite and get together with a positive perspective on the future'.
'We need to be mindful of the consumers in all this and how we present the boating lifestyle to the world.'