ABMA VISITS ANNAPOLIS SAIL BOAT SHOWSaturday 9th November 2013
The Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association (ABMA) attended the Annapolis Sail Boat Show from the 10th to 14th of October. A 10’ x 10’ booth was secured in the Vacation Basin – a series of floating docks in the centre of the Show display area – where the ABMA hosted its booth. A beautiful back-drop with an aerial photo of English and Falmouth Harbours created the focus of the display, with palm trees and a large Antiguan flag adding to the Caribbean atmosphere of the booth. Tables were laid-out with brochures provided by ABMA members and a large flat-screen TV aired videos of Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, the RORC Caribbean 600, Antigua Sailing Week and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s promo video. Representatives of the ABMA included Tracy Guerrero and Hans and Kathy Lammers, and Dean Fenton of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s New York office was on hand to share his expert knowledge of Antigua and Barbuda with visitors to the booth.
The weather was very wet and cool for the duration of the Show, with the exception of the final afternoon when the sun finally proved that it did exist in Annapolis. But sailors being sailors, no one was daunted by the weather and people came out in force to enjoy the Show and the hundreds of nautical displays from around the world. Traffic was not as heavy in the Vacation Basin as it might have been but Antigua’s booth was visited by thousands of people over the course of the five-day Show. The back-drop provided an excellent topic of conversation, with many visitors describing where they had anchored or visited in the past. Others were stunned by the sheer beauty of Antigua and vowed to visit at their first opportunity.
From a Marine Trades point of view, participation in the Show provided an outstanding opportunity to showcase the exceptional marine trades and services available in Antigua and the large number of unique and special yachting events it holds over the course of each season. It also provided an opportunity for Antigua’s yachting calendar and Marine Trades brochures to be distributed far and wide – not only to visitors to the Show but equally importantly, to other yachting-related businesses and individuals who were also displaying at the Show. Contacts were renewed with many of Antigua’s Caribbean neighbours and new acquaintances were made, providing Antigua with an opportunity to spread awareness among related businesses and individuals from around the world who may not have known the level and quality of marine services available in Antigua and what its extensive yachting community has to offer.
While at the Show, a group of exhibitors from around the Caribbean met to discuss and formulate a plan to create a Caribbean Basin for next year’s Show which would be the base for all Caribbean exhibitors. This would allow the group of exhibitors to create a real Caribbean atmosphere in a higher-traffic area which could showcase steel pan music, Carnival dancers and other Caribbean-style entertainment. The Show organisers were approached with the idea and welcomed it with open arms. So there is plenty of work to be done in preparation for next year’s Annapolis Sail Boat Show and it is hoped that even more of Antigua’s Marine Trades businesses will participate in the opportunity to spread the word about Antigua and Barbuda!
By Kathy Lammers
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