The 19th Edition of the Croatia Boat Show 2017, fails to live up to its name and prior successes.
Croatia is consistently ranked in the top holiday and sailing destinations in the world and 2017 is forecast to reach record numbers yet again. Unfortunately, the Croatia Boat Show did not reflect this. The boat show ran over the course of 5 days, and though we do not have official numbers yet, we can comfortably say that while there was a steady trickle of crowds, it definitely was not the 70,000 visitors the boat show received in 2009. No undue disrespect to those that were on display in the Boat Show this year, but while there were hundreds of boats filling the Marina, the event itself lacked the luxury, variety, entertainment and execution of previous years.
The Croatia Boat Show has unfortunately declined in years since 2010 and the organiser Vincenco Blagaić, received only moral rather than financial support from the City. The mayor of Split-Dalmatia, Zlatko Ževrnja, opened the show and instead chose to focus on the improvements and construction plans for ports and infrastructure around Dalmatia – including Makarska, Omis, Supetar and Jelsa, as well as 96 new cruisers being built in shipyards, benefiting the local workforce and economy.
The world is fast ‘discovering’ Croatia to be the truly unique and stunning destination that it is. Every year visitor numbers increase, as do the number of charter yachts and cruises. Croatia has the largest fleet of charter yachts in the world, with over 4,000 yachts and is expected to see an influx of foreign flags yachts arriving this year, coinciding with the decrease in Turkey. Adequate infrastructure to support these increasing numbers is paramount to the survival of the yachting industry, so these new projects were promising to hear.
However, the decrease in the Croatia Boat Show in Split, has seen the Biograd Boat Show set record numbers. The 2016 Biograd Boat show saw more than 300 exhibitors, 300 vessels and 45 premiere vessels displayed, as well as thousands of international visitors and sold-out tickets.
The Biograd Boat Show will take place from the 19 – 22nd October, 2017 and preparation are already well underway, including an incredible entertainment program of exhibitions and live music.
And though the Croatia Boat Show may have seen better days, Split boat interest will now turn to the Days of Small Croatian Boat Builders Fair (DHMB), which will take place later this month on the 30th April. Every year it grows in popularity and is a tribute to the history of seamanship in Croatia.
So, while the Croatia Boat Show may not have blown us out of the water this year, there was optimistic talk that it will return to its prior glory and put Split back on the world-stage in the yachting industry, we can only hope.