The plan is to feature up to 40 boats on display in the water, a superyacht hub offshore, more than 80 displays by exhibitors and a clear focus on lifestyle and the visitors’ experience.
“The format must be comprehensive. We cannot present just boats and expect people to come,” said Olivier.
To this 12 property companies have already signed up and supercars and classic cars will feature prominently.
“Our events in China and Singapore have shown a huge growth in popularity in supercars. The obvious next step up for people with a strong interest in supercars and classic cars is a private yacht,” Olivier explained.
Also lined up to to be featured at the Phuket RendezVous are business jet and private helicopter sales and services, he added.
“But it must be much more than this. Hospitality is important, and we are in talks with Anantara, Kata Rocks and Sri Panwa. Fashion and jewellery must feature as this is a clear aspect of lifestyle choices, and this goes right down to art and live jazz on the boardwalk to deliver an experience for visitors that goes beyond just a boat show,” Olivier said.
“The target is 10,000 visitors, audited. We are gradually aiming for attendance to be 60% Thai and 40% foreigners,” he added.
Beyond the sheer numbers, high net worth individuals (HNWI) from Greater China, Singapore and across Southeast Asia will be specifically targeted for interest in the show.
“After Bangkok last month, we will be taking the message outside, with press conferences to be held in Hong Kong and Singapore,” Olivier said.
“Also, for two months leading up to the Singapore Rendezvous in October there will be space at the Raffles Marina dedicated to promoting Thailand and the Phuket Rendezvous,” he added.
Andy Dowden, one of the founders of the original Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX), now reborn as the Phuket Rendezvous (see story here), was plain in his explanation for the shift.
“It’s no secret that we have had competition from other boats shows, one in particular, which receives support from the government, which made things difficult,” he said.
“This made it clear that we needed to take a fresh look at what we offer. I think it needed it for two to three years and you (participants) have been telling me that – so this is what we’re going to do.”
Gulu Lalvani, founder and CEO of Royal Phuket Marina, which was home to PIMEX for 12 years, was plain in his choice.
“I had two other boat show organisers, who hold large boat shows in the Med, wanting to take on this show, but my choice is with Olivier and Gael. I have known them for 15 years. They have been in the region more than 20 years. They know the area, they know what’s on off and they know what people want.
“I had a choice. I chose them for a reason, with Andy Dowden as part of the team,” he said.