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The story of our boat show: Barry Jenkins on SCIBS

The story of our boat show: Barry Jenkins on SCIBS

Long-serving Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) Industry Relations Manager Barry Jenkins talks about the initial creation, the nostalgic early years, and the show’s continuing success. 

The 1980s was an ostentatious time on the Gold Coast. Blow-waved hair, white shoes, bubbly champagne and the iconic koalas increased international interest in the Australian way of life. Sanctuary Cove was the epitome of such a wonderful life-the luxury of a secured gated community with waterfront harbour or golf course frontage living choices, the latest sport amenities, and the ultimate party destination.

Let the show begin

In March 1988, right after the Ultimate Event grand opening of the Sanctuary Cove Resort, Barry Jenkins was contracted for a month as a consultant to fix issues with the then Waves restaurant [now George’s Paragon]. “the problems were solved ahead of schedule, so I was offered further work as an events coordinator. The resort wanted a full program of events that would attract visitors and take advantage of the boosted number of tourist arrivals for the Brisbane Word Expo 88. One of the events was the inaugural Queensland International Boat Show which eventually became the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.”

At the time, many millions of dollars in marketing were spent to promote the resort. A gala opening with international performers and a long-running television commercial campaign with ads running up to 50 times a day. “Sanctuary Cove was the place to visit and live,” enthuses Barry. “There was, as there still is, a real mystique about the happenings of the community behind the gates. The boat show became one of the Resort’s main draw cards attracting exhibitors and visitors from around the world. The shows longevity and ongoing success is due to the objective of creating an opportunity for the recreational marine industry exhibitors to showcase their products to interested consumers.”


Growing with the boating industry

While every boat show in Australia and the world is different, SCIBS is somewhat unique in that you enter an integrated resort community, a vibrant marine village bordering a picturesque marina home to people living on waterfront harbour estates, with most of them also living the boating lifestyle. “For 27 years the boat show has not only showcased the boats and equipment, but has also highlighted this very special place in the world. During my time with the show I have seen boat buyers not only order a boat at the show, but then negotiate a lease on a marina berth and in some cases eventually buy a home in the resort. And conversely, the residents over the years have been the show’s loyal supporters.”

Sanctuary Cove has always been an evolving destination. The residential living, the marina, and the many events transform and showcase the many aspects of the resort. Barry points out that up until the global financial crisis, the show would open with a waiting list of exhibitors who missed the chance to take part. The show’s size and growth have always been a reflection of the boating industry’s rise. Like the Australian boating industry, the show has shown resilience with the changing economic conditions and he is confident that moving forward each year will be bigger and better.

“The show has grown exponentially with the Australian boating industry. We have built a reputation and created an expectation. Sanctuary Cove management know only too well that without exhibitors there is no show. Our role as event organisers has been to guide the show and work very closely with the industry, as the show is for the industry and strives to be constantly interesting and informative for the consumer.”

Over the years, the Gold Coast and Sanctuary Cove have seen interest from international investors from Japan and other parts of Asia, as well as the United States, parts of Europe, and more recently China. “The low dollar has been helpful for Australian marine exporters. Many companies are taking advantage of this by attending key boat shows in strategic locations with sales and marketing teams which have seen international orders successfully increase local production. The boat show has always been the premier show to display products not only for local and interstate vendors, but international too.”


An optimistic future

Barry is a busy man. He also serves as the Chairman of the AIMEX Superyacht Australia Division, manager of International Relations for Yacht and Boat Korea and at the time of this writing, he is scheduled to travel to Gdansk Poland for the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO) Congress 2015

With a broad vantage point of the boating industry both here and abroad, Barry’s outlook is very optimistic, “The industry is buoyant. Australian products have always been and remain sought after. Recognised worldwide for quality and reliability. Our diverse coastline and waterways have created demand for seaworthy vessels able to handle a wide variety of testing conditions in comfort and these vessels are sought after by international boaties”

The Gold Coast has evolved to become the boat-building hub of Australia with unparalleled growth of local boating industry developing modern and ingenious methods for many applications of boat manufacturing. “This city has seen the great rise of leading boat industry brands such as Maritimo, Riviera, and Telwater’s Quintrex, Savage and Stacer, and many other respected brands-made possible by the integrity of the management that attract and train highly skilled personnel able to build quality products. The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show has always been proud to showcase this unquestionable reflection of that integrity and manufacturing capability.”

With almost 30 years of hosting a successful international boat show, the Sanctuary Cove management has a several decades-old database of consumers that are regularly updated of developments through newsletters and social media. Barry has taken an advisory role, consulting with SCIBS General Manager Johan Hasser while liaising with government, industry and international networks. “At a recent event, it was rewarding to catch up with several long-term SCIBS contractors that have been attached to the show for 20 or more years. They always reiterate that the show has been a wonderful training ground in events management for hundreds of energetic people. While some may have ventured off into streams of event management, the true testament of their experience with SCIBS is that they stay in touch.”

With such a successful event in his portfolio, Barry advises up-and-coming business people, “The secret is to be true to yourself, true to your vision, and most importantly true to your team, as you cannot do it all alone. You require the support of enthuastic, creative and dedicated people.”

As the Sanctuary Cove resort story is rich in history, the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show has also become an iconic event in the boat show history of Australia.

Barry is proud to state, “I stand by what I have said for many years. The importance of SCIBS is its ability to attract not only the high end of the international and national market but all facets of the recreational boating genre. It now holds a significant place in international boat show calendars with the array of marine products on display at the show, demonstrating the unquestionable significance of SCIBS in the marine industry.”


By Andy Kancachian



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