AROUND 100,000 people are expected in Portsmouth over the weekend as the city’s first boat show launches today.
The Powerboat and Rib show was due to open at Gunwharf Quays this morning, and it is already being hailed as the start of a boating future for Portsmouth.
Gunwharf Quays director Peter Emery has set his sights on the future, saying that this boat show is just the start.
He said: ‘The show has already grown.
‘Originally it was the Ribex show, which was held on the Isle of Wight, but now it’s combined with another show to make one bigger one for small boats and recreational boats in Portsmouth.
‘Our aim is to increase the success of this show year on year, with a bigger and better show next year with maybe more retail, entertainment in the evenings – we’re already thinking about what sort of groups we can bring in.
‘Our aim is to have a big boat show in Portsmouth on the same scale as the Southampton Boat Show.
‘This weekend’s show gives Portsmouth the credibility to do something like that. It’s a stepping stone.’
Mr Emery said that, with Gunwharf Quays’ parent company Land Securities converting Europa House in The Hard to a 200-bed hotel, future boat shows could extend from Gunwharf right down to the dockyard.
‘It’s a real partnership approach,’ he added.
‘It’s all about joining forces with the other offerings in Portsmouth.’
Meanwhile, visitors to the boat show, which is free to attend, are being encouraged to use public transport over the weekend.
Once there they will have the chance to go out on some of the boats.
The show opens today and tomorrow from 10am to 7pm and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday.