GM’s Log – June 2017

This isn’t a full newsletter, but a quick update on what’s happening around the AWBF traps in June.  Apologies for an electronic whoops that saw an old March newsletter go out to subscribers in error earlier this week.  Our computer system is often smarter than its operators.  We are much better with wooden boats.

The tourism awards season is upon us and AWBF will be nominating for the Tasmanian Tourism Awards and for the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.  Readers may remember that we won Gold in the Tasmanian Tourism Awards for the 2015 event and went on to place third in the Australian Tourism Awards in the category Major Events and Festivals.  Not a bad result, when you consider that our podium partners were the National Flower Show (Floriade) and the Melbourne Cup.  We’re hoping to better that result this time around.

Headline results are in for the 2017 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival post-Festival analysis.  Attendance numbers were close to the 2015 result, with 220,000 visitors over four days.  Ordinary weather on the last two days dimmed some enthusiasm, or we might well have set a new record.  Boat owners didn’t seem to notice, with some great compliments on the event following through.  Traders and sponsors were very happy with their results and our special Dutch guests were over the moon with their adventures.  The beautiful BM 16m2, which was built at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin by a young Dutch team of shipwrights, sold to a great new owner after a lively auction on site.

AWBF will be sending representation to the USA in September, to attend the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in Washington State.  This is the largest wooden boat festival in the US and draws enthusiasts from all over North America.  We have plenty of friends there already, excited about the decision to welcome the USA as our guest nation in 2019.  We will be presenting highlights of the Hobart festival and encouraging boat owners and their friends to make the trip to Tasmania in February 2019.  We’ll try to overcome the perception that Tasmania is located at the far end of the earth and is very difficult to reach (an opinion that’s not unknown in Sydney, for that matter!) by pointing out that Honolulu is halfway across the Pacific and makes a convenient stopover.

We are very pleased that the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania has confirmed support for the festival through 2019 and 2021.  Premier Will Hodgman recently acknowledged that the festival is a major contributor to the Tasmanian economy and a welcome part of the campaign to turn Tasmania into the events capital of Australia, with the aim to bring 1.5 million visitors by 2020.  As long as some of them bring their wooden boats, we’ll vote for that.

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