THE PHILIPPINE boating industry will once again come together for the 9th SEA-EX Philippine Boat Show and Nautical Lifestyle Expo in a bid to be recognized by the government as an industry, with its chairman saying that the country has the potential to become Asia’s answer to the Mediterranean.

Getting its sea legs

“Basically [the Philippines is] a country with 7,107 islands where maritime tourism is sorely lacking compared to all our neighbors, and they don’t even have what we have — we have all the natural infrastructure: we’ve got the lakes, we’ve got the islands, we have everything. Now, we just have to move people around and to do that we have to build from the ground up this industry,” said Angelo Olondriz, chairman of the SEA-EX and president of Headsail, Inc. during a press conference on Feb. 17 aboard his yacht on Manila Bay.

He noted that the Philippines, with its 36,289 kilometers of coastline — the fifth longest in the world, according to — can host boating-based businesses which will give employment to locals and provide a significant economic industry.

“Not the big ferry boat industry, no,” he clarified. “We need a smaller industry to get people to the resorts, to get people around,” Mr. Olondriz said, adding that the leisure boating industry isn’t even noticed as an industry yet.

According to their internal statistics, the leisure boating industry contributes about P200 million a year at the moment.

“This sector has not been focused on, so what we’re saying is ‘Look at us.’” He said that if the government “supports them a little” then the private sector would jump in to do the same.

Getting its sea legs
Angelo Olondriz

This year, the three-day expo — which will be held from March 3 to 5 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City — will be joined by the National Coast Watch Council under the Office of the President and the Tourism Promotions Board.

Considered the biggest marine expo in the country, it will be featuring brands involved in the manufacture and distribution of yachts, sail boats, boating accessories, water sports equipment, summer apparel and resort getaways.

Local boat builders such as Trevally Boats, Teamnonino, Australasia Marine Alliance Corp., Advanced Composite Systems-Hammerhead Boats, and local boat distributors carrying internationally known brand like Azimut Yachts, Beneteau, Lagoon, Princess, Chaparral Boats, Sunseeker, NuMarine, Galeon, and Corsair Marine will join the expo. — Zsarlene B. Chua

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