A boat and water sports show will create a £2.5 million economic bonanza in Gwynedd.
After two years in Conwy, the All Wales Boat Show is moving to Pwllheli and organisers expect sales to top £2 million with an extra £500,000 being pumped into the local economy by visitors.
The three-day event will be dropping anchor at Plas Heli, the Welsh Sailing Academy and Events Centre from Friday, May 8, to Sunday, May 10, and will be officially opened by Welsh Government Tourism Minister Ken Skates.
Organiser Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of Wales Watersports International, already has a successful track record with maritime events in Pwllheli.
She masterminded the marketing of the One Ton Cup which helped put Pwllheli on the global map in 2001.
Ms Carey-Evans said: “We were running out of space in Conwy and the move to Pwllheli was the next logical step in our evolution. I am from this area originally and I must say it feels very much as if the All-Wales Boat Show is coming home.
“The show is also going to bring great economic benefits in its wake because we are expecting boat sales to top £2 million. On top of that visitors will be spending a further £500,000 that will make the local economy more buoyant.
“We will have an even bigger range of boats on show this year with everything from high end luxury craft like Fairline and Chaparral to Sealeg which is a rib that can literally drive onto a beach.
“We’ll also have hand built boats, boats that you can fold up and put in the back of your car and paddle boards.
“In addition, there’ll be plenty of entertainment with a jet ski world champion and wakeboarding displays.
“What’s really exciting this year is that actually that balance is changing and it’s more of the Welsh companies getting behind the event which is making it a more established and exciting event.”
Plas Heli chairman Stephen Tudor, a local estate agent and a brother of round-the-world yachtsman Richard Tudor, believes the arrival of the All-Wales Boat Show heralds a marriage made in maritime heaven.
Mr Tudor said: “We’re very excited that the All Wales Boat Show has decided to move to Pwllheli.
“It’s one of the best sailing centres in the world and recognised as such. When people are going to Rio to the Olympics, the Olympic sailors there will have trained here, they will have sailed here.
“Sir Ben Ainsley has sailed here on a number of occasions as well as Hannah Mills who was a silver medallist in 2012.
“The All Wales Boat Show coming to Pwllheli is important for Plas Heli and it is a natural fit.
“We have some fantastic pontoons that have been built with large footfall in mind. It is purposely built for an event of this type so there’s plenty of space on the water to exhibit boats and exhibit equipment on the water.
“Additionally, we have a large compound and space ashore which means we can have marquees and exhibiting areas.
“It’s an opportunity for us to show visitors what we have on the water but almost of equal importance is to show what we have ashore, the castles in Caernarfon and Criccieth, the trains, the mountains of Eryri and of course the natural beauty of Pen Llŷn.
“Everybody is a winner. Every good event that we have means that there will be return visits which will help lay foundations for a bright economic future for the area.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Steve Morgan, the Chief Executive of Our Way Cymru/Wales, formerly the Wales Yachting Association.
According to Mr Morgan, the arrival of the All-Wales Boat Show was a key part of the strategy to expand the marine sector which already contributes £282 million a year to the Welsh economy.
He said: “Our ambition to make Wales one of the best places in the world to be a sailor.
“The marine leisure industry in Wales is a major player in terms of economic development and it needs the All-Wales Boat Show.
“It is a great opportunity to celebrate and shout about everything that’s good about our sport.
“The figures from last year’s show showed there was an increase in sales in terms of people who came to the show and bought boats and we’re hoping that trend will continue. We’re hoping for a bumper year.”