Mumbai International Boat Show aims to drive development

Azimut at Mumbai International Boat Show 2011.
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Alpa Antani from the Mumbai International Boat Show speaks exclusively to MarineBusiness-World.com.

The fifth annual Mumbai International Boat Show over for another year, the industry is one step closer to persuading authorities and investors the local industry is well worth their attention, home as it is to many more millionaires per capita than Manhattan – apparently many of them with a propensity for boating, just no facilities or infrastructure to sate their appetite.

Held 24-27 February at the land-locked MMRDA Grounds rather than on-water, the event attracted around 60 exhibitors with 150 brands – 60% of those international, and brought 18,000 visitors over the three days. On display were small and medium sized boats, engines, watersports equipment and luxury products over 10,000m² at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai.

Also on the schedule, a one-day conference attended by over 200 delegates to open the show, with key speakers from India and abroad on how to optimise the growth and prospects of the Indian leisure boating industry.

According to Alpa Antani, some of the major players included Fairline, Monterey boats and a security boat from Esmario exports (Indian manufacturer), as well as several boat charters as prizes, sponsored by Blue Bay marine.
In a fledgling but promising market, MIBS is seen as the catalyst to growing 'the last large untapped leisure boating market in the world'.

French Trade Commission
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Says Antani: 'The Boat Show is very important for exhibitors as well as visitors, as the Indian Boating industry being in its nascent stages, in general people are not much aware of the boating culture. Mumbai Boat Show acts as a catalyst between buyers and the sellers.'

This year, exhibitors were pleased with the quality of visitors and their feedback, and they are committed to the continuation and expansion of the boat show.

The potential is too tantalising for stakeholders to resist: The market opportunity for luxury products in India is estimated at US$3 billion and this market is expected to grow at 25-30% per annum until 2015.

'Changing consumer attitude, relaxation in import duties and emergence of high-end shopping destinations are some of the key reasons catalysing the growth of this market. Indian consumers have started gravitating towards luxury goods and services that connect with their aspirations,' declares Business Standard (12 August 2010).
It is estimated that India, with a population of 1.15 billion, currently has 6,000 families with surplus funds to the tune of INR 120 crore (US$30m) and more than 20,000 families with INR 40-120 crore (US$1m-$30m). (Source : DNA 14 September 2009).

Fairline on show
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With its population in excess of 12 million, Mumbai is said to have more millionaires per square mile than Manhattan. There are plenty of other reasons Mumbai has set its sights on becoming a global boating hub.

Mumbai is the world’s seventh largest city in terms of billionaire population according to a Top 10 Billionaire City list by Forbes. With the average wealth of resident billionaires valued at a whopping US$7.6 billion, Mumbai surpasses the other nine cities – Moscow, New York, London, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Tokyo.

Mumbai is home to Bollywood, the Hindi movie industry. It has the command centers of all the major television and satellite networks as well.

The city also houses the diamond, finance and IT industries and is the corporate headquarters of some of the world’s major companies.

Mumbai has a natural harbour with miles of sheltered coastline – and fascinating places to explore by boat. It has a strong boating heritage with the third oldest yacht club in the world, the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, set up in 1846.

But there exist real barriers to growing the local marine industry, some of which the boat show and its organisers are determined to ford. Since the 26 November 2008 bombings in Mumbai, which killed 164 people and injured more than double this number, city authorities have been conscious of the perils of broad coastlines and waterborne terror threats. Of most peril to the recreational boating industry is the utter lack of marinas and mire of red-tape involved in applying for permits to build any.

Ocean Blue Marinas www.oceanblue.in, the company behind the construction of India’s first modern marina in the south western coastal state of Kerala, inaugurated 'Kochi International Marina', 24 April 24 2010. This marina project, with state-of-the-art facilities and berthing for 37 yachts, was a Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) venture and is located on the eastern coast of Bolgatty Island in the Bolgatty Palace Heritage Hotel.

Throughout the rest of the country, and in Mumbai, luxury and leisure craft have limited to no options.

'There’s a lack of infrastructure, which is soon changing,' says Antani. 'We as the show organisers are pushing the government and the local industry people to work out ways to come up the infrastructure. We have also joined hands with the Confederation of Indian Industries and are bringing in policies to structure the boating industry in India.

The event in 2007, its inaugural year, established itself as the benchmark for boat shows in India and served to provide an important stimulus to the Indian leisure boating and water sports industry. The 2008 event outshone the previous year, and 2009 was spectacular despite the economic environment.

Organisers state that this year’s show had more than 40% new exhibitors and attracted 'the right kind of audience', and exhibitors said they were 'immensely satisfied with their participation'.

More at www.mumbaiboatshow.com