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Cape Town boat show anchors Cape Town’s Blue Economy growth

Cape Town, South Africa, is reaping the rewards of its burgeoning blue economy, a sector that injects a staggering R40-billion per annum into the city’s GDP. Contributing to this remarkable achievement is boatica – the City’s annual Boat Show that has evolved into a pivotal contributor to boosting Cape Town’s profile in this sector.

Boatica – which will take place from October 27-29 2023 at the picturesque V&A Waterfront – is dedicated to showcasing multiple aspects of Cape Town’s maritime and blue economy.

The blue economy encompasses a multitude of sectors, ranging from fisheries, tourism, renewable energy, marine conservation, to aquaculture. The city’s strategic location along the Atlantic Ocean, coupled with its commitment to sustainable practices, positions it as a global leader in this critical arena.

“Ocean sports, for example, was a R1.38-billion per annum contributor to the Cape’s economy in 2018-2019. Research by the City’s industry partner, BlueCape, found that this “tiger” sector is growing at rates of 20% and this sector is now estimated to be valued at around +R2-billion,” says Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos.

“Meanwhile, further research commissioned by BlueCape indicated that South Africa’s boat building market has seen a similar growth trajectory and in 2018-2019 was a R 2.2-billion industry also growing at around 17% per annum. In 2023 this sector is now valued at +R3-billion. With the bulk of marine products made in the Western Cape, it’s clear that this is a major industry for us,” Vos adds.

South Africa is increasingly recognised as a global leader in the boat-building industry, and Boatica – which is funded by the City of Cape Town – offers a unique platform for the public to view internationally acclaimed boats built by local manufacturers. 

Vos is immensely proud of the spike in industry growth. “There is huge appetite for Cape-made boats with local manufacturers processing orders for every work day of 2023 and contracting with major international organisations such as the New Zealand Navy, the United Nations and SpaceX. Through BlueCape, we are investing in the promotion of Cape Town’s marine manufacturing industry, the development of SMMEs in the sector, and upskilling Capetonians to meet the growing workforce demand.

“We are very proud to have the support of the City in once again bringing this event to Cape Town,” says Michael Dehn, Managing Director of boatica organiser Messe Frankfurt SA. “Not only will there be some incredible boats on display, there will also be an extensive range of exhibitors, as well as exciting on-water activities to enjoy.”

With the Cape Town blue economy a key pillar in the City’s economic success, it’s easy to see why Boatica serves such an important role in the City’s events calendar. Make sure you don’t miss out on all the action this year. Visit for more information and details on where to buy your ticket to this year’s event. 

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