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Results for Australian companies at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show once again reinforces the value of attending shows such as this and promoting Australia not only as a key cruising destination but also a country that manufacturers quality, innovative and world class products. Superyacht Australia showcased Australia as a destination and was promoting the capability of the Australian refit and repair business.
Whilst many went to the show with some trepidation given the current economic climate and high US dollar none were disappointed with the response to their products and services and all were thrilled with the interest by Superyachts in cruising in Australian waters.
The interest in Australia is overwhelming and was evidenced by the daily show newsletter that carried out a survey of the crew on the superyachts at the show the question being:
“Where do you wish the owner would take the boat?”
55.6% said the South Pacific with Australia being specifically mentioned as somewhere they definitely want to see. (Triton Today Sun FLIBS)
All who attended the show felt the show was certainly more upbeat than last year, there was far more optimism in the market and boats were actually being sold. There were several country pavilions, Italy, France, Germany, UK, NZ and Australia. All felt the show had created a positive feel for the next 12 months. Whilst there is no great rush of orders there are certainly sales happening and although it is agreed it will still be several years before we see the marine sector back on track it is good to see the graph going in the right direction. Most agree there will not be a return to the heady days of not having to worry where the next sale came from. Buyers are now taking a far more conservative approach and hard negotiating seems to have become the norm. Everyone is working that much harder for the sale. Customer service has become a key success factor and the relationship building and networking opportunities provided by these shows is critical.
Muir Winches, a long time exhibitor at the show were displaying their range of pleasure and megayacht windlass anchoring systems. Fred Mayer the Muir USA representative said “the first 2 days were above expectations and prospects certainly look improved compared to past 2 years. He said he had noticed that the refit market appeared stronger and the new build market was showing some signs of resurgence. As a result prospective new sales have improved slightly. He said he had also seen a significant increase in commercial product enquiries.
David McQueen stated that Azzura Marine were happy to announce some additional refit work in Newcastle “The 90 MTR Sailing Yacht built by “Royal Huisman” will be visiting the Azzura Marine facility in Newcastle for the next 6 weeks to undertake a small amount of refit work”. Azzura Marine continues to expand its capabilities for refit work and Interior work in the Industry.
Joel Kmetz, a USA distributor for VEEM Propellers said “compared to last year more boat builders are looking to buy. VEEM has become popular due to the efficiency improvements it makes. The product is now starting to sell itself and has definitely taken a good percentage of the US market. People are now asking for VEEM by name and it has become widely accepted. Fort Lauderdale is always an important show for us as it is technically the first big show for the season.”
Carl & Grant Amor were extolling the virtues of the show and praising the show management for the way they were delivering on their sponsorship agreement. It was not hard to notice the presence of Aqualuma at the show with every single exhibitor wearing a lanyard with the Aqualuma brand. This coupled with the preshow promotion by the show organisers contributed to the Aqualuma stand having people 3 deep at times. Aqualuma now have a broad range of products from underwater lights to interior lights and the quality of these products is second to none. Aqualuma certainly were a shining light at the show and had impressed everyone with their products and their significant presence.
Captain Chris Stirling, Sydney Superyacht Services was extremely positive regarding his time at the show and was confident the show would bring business to his company. He had spent the 5 days visiting every Superyacht at the show and said he felt there was some positive movement now in the US market.
Chris Joseland, Australian Satellite Communications said “ This is a key show for our company particularly in building relationships with our key partners and making sure Superyacht Captains are aware of the quality services we provide. He stated “this show is definitely an improvement on last year and the SYBA stand is in an excellent location to take advantage of the flow of traffic.”
Australian exhibitors at the show who were excited by the outcomes they had achieved and contacts made were:
Aqualuma, Australian Satellite Communications, Azzura Marine, Aurora Logistics, Coursemaster Autopilots, Hydrive Engineering, Maritimo, Muir Winches, Riviera, Refit Australia, Sydney Superyacht Services, Sydney Superyacht Marina, Sam Sorgiovanni Designs, VEEM Propellers
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