New boat show hailed as economic winner

An emerging Norfolk boatshow is being hailed as a growing economic success story for the region's multi-million pound boat-building industry.

The Broadland village of Horning will be hosting its second show on Saturday May 3 and organisers hope to beat last year's attendance of 5,000 visitors which gave a significant lift to the local tourism economy.

Exhibitors, many of whom were returning from the London Boat Show this weekend, say the Horning event has the potential to put the Broads on the map as a show venue for years to come.

James Fraser, managing-director of Brundall-based Norfolk Yacht Agency, which is sponsoring the event, said: 'Last year was extremely good for us. We had more people across the boats that morning than the average we would get at the Southampton Boat Show.

'Local shows are increasingly popular and dealers like them because they are cheap to exhibit at. Transport costs are cut as you can simply drive the boats to Horning and there are no hotel costs for staff.'

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He said a Sealine sc35 which had been advertised for eight or nine weeks was snapped up at last year's show - and they even had another buyer waiting in the wings.

'An introduction at the show also led to the sale of a new Haines 32 Sedan,' he said.

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Matthew Stone, group sales manager for Norfolk Boat Sales, in Wroxham, said: 'Last year, we followed Horning Boat Show on the Saturday with an open day on the Sunday and we sold four boats over that weekend.

'The show raises awareness of boating on the river and promotes what we do. There are a lot of local people and a good atmosphere which eggs people on to upgrade their boat or get into boating for the first time.'

He said this year they would have a bigger stand and would be taking three boats instead of two, including a new model from Broom of Brundall, for which they were agent.

Like the first event, the show will use all the facilities of Horning's village centre. This time, the main exhibition area will be on the recreation ground while some exhibitors will be displaying their boats on the river.

Craft on display will range from traditional to modern and include both luxury and affordable motor cruisers, yachts, launches and RIBs.

Other exhibitors will include marine insurance and finance providers, hire fleets, yacht brokers, car dealers and some with broader appeal.

New features on the recreation ground will include a food court and a children's area.

Organisers say a vast improvement on the first event is the new Horning Boat Show website

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