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MarineBusiness-World talks to Sanctuary Cove GM

by Rob Kothe on 29 Mar 2012
Sanctuary Cove Boat Show SW
The launch of the 24th annual Sanctuary Cove international Boat Show took place today and we talked to Sue Thomson, the General Manager Boat Show and Marketing for Sanctuary Cove.

Sue is a Queenslander born and bred, her credentials are second to none, joining Mulpha from two years with the Royal Queensland Show, known affectionately to locals as 'The Ekka' – the state’s largest annual event and an institution, held each August in Brisbane.

Prior to that Sue ran her own marketing-communications company for a range of clients, including a marine tourism operator in Cairns. She has also held senior positions with Tourism Australia, based in Sydney, and Gold Coast Tourism, where she had been Marketing Manager and Acting CEO.

What do you think sets Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show apart from other boat shows?

Longevity, Location and Brand. Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is a well recognised international brand and I'd suggest that if people know one thing about Sanctuary Cove, they know the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. That's an incredibly important asset and one that our team is very proud of. It represents consistency and commitment.

Parking and transport have always been an issue with this show, what is happening in 2012?

For the 2012 event we have entered into a partnership with Warner Bros Movie World that allows us to use their car park, and bus people to the show within 10 minutes. It’s the best parking option we have been able to offer the public in many years and we are very excited about it – exhibitors too have offered enthusiastic support for this option. It doesn’t matter if you travel north or south, all you have to do is pull into Movie World car park and take a short coach ride. This is all included in the ticket price.

What new show features are you most pleased with for 2012?

We have a number of new features and events that contribute to the concept of innovation and education and add to the theme for this year's event which is about 'boating and beyond'.

There are innovative water sports and marine products, extra activities and events presented through our media partnerships that will appeal to visitors and exhibitors alike, many product launches and of course the much anticipated return of the Cove Tavern which will bring a whole new social aspect to the show.

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A lot more boat shows in Queensland now - what does this indicate - confidence returning to the market, or dissatisfaction with existing shows?

I think it indicates that there is an intention to create opportunities to generate sales. We are firmly of the view that any event that actively creates an opportunity for increased sales has to be a good thing for the marine industry. I would hope that more shows indicate confidence in the market.

What other messages do you want to get to the market?

We are looking forward to our 25th year next year and this is a milestone to be marked and celebrated.
Importantly though Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show remains the show ‘where the marine business does business’ and this is a critically important element of what we aim to achieve. Finally, get on line and buy your 2012 tickets before you get here.

In what international markets will you be promoting SCIBS 25th anniversary?

We hope to go out to all markets. With attendance at international trade events and through membership of organisations like IFBSO we will be able to have a truly global reach. Typically we have had a presence in China, Korea, Europe, the USA and Dubai but with an international PR program the possibilities are far greater.

What role does SCIBS see itself playing within the Asian market?

With Asia being a near neighbour it’s an important market for us in which to have a presence. With such strong growth in marinas and marine manufacturing, it’s vital that we maintain relationships in the region.

Do you have a forecast or target of how many exhibitors you would like to attract for this 'bumper' milestone?

We would love to re-visit the halcyon days of course and while that may not be possible we will of course be looking to maximise exhibitor numbers for the 2013 show.

Any special speakers or guests in your sights for the 25th?

Planning for 2013 is very much in the early stages but we have our sights set high – the best answer is ‘watch this space’.

Are there sponsorship opportunities this far out for initiatives and additions to the program?

Always – sponsorship opportunities are always on the table – there may be opportunities for existing programs or for ideas whose time has yet to come. We’ve been successful in securing new sponsors and partners for this year’s show so we hope to build on this success for next year. Our event touches not just the marine industry but tourism, retail and leisure lifestyle markets so it’s important that we look beyond the typical sources of sponsorship.

Will there be any incentives for exhibitors to come onboard for the 25th?

In the same way that we offered incentives for this year’s show we recognise that there may well be a need to continue that for 2013 or find additional ways to appeal to our target markets.

What is on your wish list to add to the program for the 25th?

A celebration.... How that might look or feel I am not sure but I favour a gala event that allows us to recognise those individual and companies who have been with us since the very beginning. There are a number of marine industry stalwarts we have identified who we feel can play a significant role in 25th birthday celebrations. And of course we would welcome thoughts and suggestions from the industry about what they might like to see happen in our 25th year.

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