A big boating and watersports show is set to return to north Wales next year thanks to growing interest in it, it was announced today. The All Wales Boat Show will be held in Pwllheli as one of the first events at Plas Heli, the Welsh National Sailing Academy and a new Events Center. It follows two very successful years in Conwy which attracted considerable attention from the marine and tourism sectors and attracted thousands of visitors over a number of days.
According to the organizers, the All Wales Boat Show fills a hole in the market and helps to highlight the huge potential of Wales where the marine leisure industry accounts for only 2.4% of the UK total, according to the Marine Federation Britain.
Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism welcomed the news. He said: “Building on the success of this event before, I am delighted that Pwllheli will host the All Wales Boat Show in 2015. It’s a great opportunity to showcase Plas Heli, the national sailing academy and event center new £ 8.3 million. The marine leisure industry is extremely important to economic development in Wales and the Welsh Government is determined to see it grow so that coastal communities benefit from this growing market. The All Wales Boat Show will take place from Friday 8 May until Sunday 10 May.
According to Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of Wales Watersports International, which runs the All Wales Boat Show, there are already opportunities for sponsors, exhibitors and supporters. New entrants include specialist marine insurers GJW Insurance, Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Wales, and marine law experts Hill Dickinson. The show owes it to Conwy marinas and Deganwy Quay for establishing the show as an annual event, says Davina. “We’ve had a wonderful two years in Conwy” he said “but the success of this year’s show was such that we needed more space”.
“Pwllheli offers that, keeping the show in Wales, near some of the country’s best coast and inland waters and also close to the economy of areas that this sector supports.
“2015 will be a big year for Pwllheli and the whole of Llŷn with the opening of Plas Heli, the National Sailing Academy and a new Events Center which has received £ 8.3million European Regional Development Fund investment through the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council. And Davina added:
“There are many safe moorings, harbors and marinas in the heart of the natural beauty of Wales’ spectacular coastline. These could grow, and, sensitively nurtured, could boost the economy of coastal communities. “We believe the show could be a huge success and clearly demonstrate the huge potential of the marine sector in Wales to boost our economy as a whole”.
The All Wales Boat Show should appeal to local, regional and international visitors. In 2014, thousands attended the three-day show at Conwy Quay marina where luxury yachts, motor boats, coracles and even bath tubs were on view. Boats were on display from Fairline Wales, Hanse, Jeanneau, Beneteaeu, Robalo, Chapparal, Quicksilver, Sunseeker and Bayliner as well as over 100 second-hand boats. The first boat was sold within minutes of the show opening its doors to the public. According to the British Maritime Federation, the marine leisure sector supported 7,600 full-time equivalent jobs in Wales in 2013. With events such as the All Wales Boat Show, developments such as Plas Heli and marinas expanding, this number is set to increase.
In addition to the All Wales Boat Show website at allwalesboatshow.co.uk a new site has been launched by the show organizers to be an important gateway to the marine and watersports sector in Wales.
- In 2012, according to the latest available figures, the marine leisure sector was worth £ 69.3 million to Wales, which is only a small proportion of the £ 2.8 billion the industry generates in the whole of the UK .
- Taking all tourism activities into account, the sector is already worth £ 280 million to the Welsh economy, according to the British Marine Federation and growth is higher than the UK average.
- According to a survey by the Federation and the RYA, more than 160,000 people in Wales take part in ‘any activity with boats’ and 40,000 households have a boat.
- There are 17 marinas in Wales with 4,839 moorings (9.4% of all coastal and tidal marinas in the UK).
- There are plans to build three new marinas with 1,210 moorings, a 25% increase (source: THYA / BMF, November, 2013)
- A marina with 350 berths is worth nearly £ 3 million a year to the area’s economy, with £ 500,000 of this spent locally in shops, eating out and entertainment. Such a marina would also support 46 full-time equivalent jobs
(source: Value of Welsh Marinas roles by Irish-sea.org, 2010).