As Thailand's first international boat show, Phuket International Marine Expo (PIMEX) 2003, gets ready to open to the public, work is completed on constructing the marquees, clearing the hardstand and filling the in-water berths at the Boat Lagoon marina.
The show is full, with 80 exhibition booths or berths and over 120 companies represented from 10 countries. 'Last-minute, would-be exhibitors are clamouring for space, but we have nothing left to give them,' said Andy Dowden, director of organizers Image Asia Events Co Ltd.
The show will open its doors at 10.00 am on Sunday 7th and will be open each day until 6.00 pm. CEO Governor of Phuket Province, Udomsak Usawarangkura, will officially open the show at a ceremony on Sunday evening.
The Thai government's decision to reduce both import duty and excise tax on boats to zero has fired up interest and enthusiasm from both exhibitors and visitors alike. The amendments are currently being written up as law and the long-awaited zero rate is expected to take effect by early next year.
The Phuket Boat Show has exhibits ranging from luxury yachts (motor and sail), the latest in marine equipment, yacht charter holiday companies, diving and game fishing operators - as well as the island's premier property developers and real estate agents.
"While this is primarily a trade show, we wanted to make it fun too. After all, Thailand is famous for a fun approach to life,"
said Image Asia managing director, Grenville FORDHAM, adding, "We have a great variety of exhibits, some superb entertainment going on throughout the day and a waterside restaurant and bar. A visit to the show will make a great day out for anyone in Phuket at the time."
Amongst the exhibitors at the show are internationally famous names Sunseeker, Ferretti, Riva, Riviera, Azimuth and many more, plus a surprising number of locally-built boats of exceptionally good quality.
As the pieces fall into place for the first show, the organizers are already looking ahead to next year's PIMEX. 'Judging by the interest from exhibitors and visitors alike, our biggest problem next year will be the space available to expand the show,' said Dowden. Phuket currently has only two marinas, both with high occupancies, with a third on the way.
'The zero tax will almost certainly lead to an upsurge in marina development,' said Fordham, 'but in the short term capacity is going to be a problem.' The new Royal Phuket Marina, due to open next year may provide a partial solution, but the expectation is that it will fill immediately it opens for business.