South Africa showcases its boat-building excellence to 73 000 international investors in France


The Grand Pavois International Boat Show took place in La Rochelle, France, from 27 September to 2 October 2022. South Africa participated as the incoming Guest Country of Honour for the year 2023. The annual boat show attracts boatbuilders and other stakeholders from all over the world, including South African boatbuilders and manufacturers.



The Grand Pavois International Boat Show is one of the biggest boat shows in the world, with exhibitions covering an area of 100,000 m2 at Port des Minimes in La Rochelle. This includes a representation of 800 international brands and 35 nations, 200 accredited international journalists, 750 boats on show, 250 new products and an intake of more than 73 000 visitors. Jimmy Ranamane, the Acting General Manager for Global Markets at Brand South Africa says that the show presented an important opportunity for international trade and helped accelerate bilateral trade with France as South Africa has one of the leading boatbuilding industries in the world. Furthermore, since the boat show is mainly for leisure boats, it is inextricably linked to tourism promotion. “As such, the event also served as an important platform through which we can promote South Africa’s tourism value proposition to an international market.”



On this occasion, the Embassy of South Africa to France hosted a cocktail reception on 27 September 2022 for the official announcement of South Africa as the Guest Country of Honour in 2023, as well as an exhibition for promoting the South African brand and showcasing the country’s tourism offering and boatbuilding industry. South Africa’s participation this year is a prelude to the main event of hosting a full country exhibition in a 700m2 pavilion at the Grand Pavois International Boat Show as the Guest Country of Honour in 2023.



Meanwhile, Thina Qutywa, Executive Manager at the South African Boat Builders Export Council (SABBEX), said that South Africa has been doing really well in the International Market, having been nominated and won a few awards in this year. The latest nomination being of South Africa’s Balance 482 from Balance Catamarans for the 2023 European Yacht of the Year awards in the Multihull Performance category. “This is a critical milestone for South Africa, demonstrating that our industry is globally competitive. Designed by Phillip Berman, and naval architect Anton du Toit, the Balance 482 is a long-distance performance cruiser, the smaller sister to the Balance 526. It’s another great design to come out of the South African ecosystem,” said Qutywa.



Leading the South African delegation was His Excellency Tebogo Seokolo, South African Ambassador to France, Monaco and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. The delegation included other South African government agencies, South African Tourism Hub in France, Brand South Africa, South African Boat Builders Export Council (SABBEX) and the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Agency (WESGRO).