Phuket old hand, Andy Dowden, Managing Director of Andaman Marine Consultants, organisers of Phuket International Boat Show has had more than 30 years’ experience in Thailand’s marine industry. We sat down with him to discuss boat show, marine industry and the future.
“2016 will mark the 13th Phuket International Boat Show. Since the show’s launch in 2003, the island and its marine industry have seen many ups and downs. I’m proud of the show’s beginnings and what it has become – Southeast Asia’s longest-running marine and lifestyle show and a key event on the regional marine calendar.”
Looking forward to the future of the show, Dowden commented, “We’ll continue to work with all industry stakeholders – government and private sector – and will further develop the boat show platform to promote and market Phuket and Thailand’s marine industry.”
With regards to the marine industry, Dowden explained that, “Phuket remains the yachting playground of Asia and the cruising grounds are second to none. While there are countries in the region with quality marine facilities, Phuket is still the place where most will come to play. 40 percent of the world’s population lives within a six-hour flight of Phuket and we are also within easy reach are two of the world’s biggest countries – India and China. While perhaps not yet into boating, the potential of the Chinese market is huge, both for charter and sales, which will also benefit marina, maintenance and other marine services.”
When asked about superyachts Dowden shared his insights and support of recent government moves.
“The recent introduction of a 12-month superyacht charter license is a positive step and shows vision on the part of the government. While the licence has already come into effect, there are still some areas that need to be worked on. I believe these challenges will be overcome but it may take more time. However, the Phuket International Boat Show will continue to offer support and assistance wherever possible.”
Looking to the future, Dowden is positive as regards the outlook for Phuket and Thailand’s marine industry.
“I expect to see growth in the charter market, both in Phuket and around the country. Phuket has the onshore and offshore assets to become one of the best charter destinations in the world and I think business will grow considerably over the next five to 10 years. I also expect to see the development of more marinas – another policy by the current government.”
“Lastly, in my opinion, the single most important boost to the island’s marine economy would be to develop a superyacht refit facility. The skills base on the island is already there but currently there is no yard capable of lifting yachts over 45m. As the number of yachts basing themselves in Asia increases, taking advantage of the year-round season, the potential for Phuket to be the best refit centre in the world is huge.”
Phuket International Boat Show
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