Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner toasts to reconnecting

Between the Australian Superyacht, Marine Export and Commercial Marine (ASMEX) Conference and Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS), Rivergate Marina & Shipyard and Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX) hosted their annual VIP Dinner, gathering guests drawn from the superyacht industry, conference speakers, visiting delegations and media.

The venue was Ioesco Café Cucina, the landmark Italian restaurant in the centre of the Marine Village, surrounded by exhibitors setting up for the 33rd Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.

Dinner table.
Guests from the superyacht industry, conference speakers, visiting delegations and media attended the dinner.

Steve Fisher, Rivergate’s Director of International Business, and Director, Tom Hill welcomed the 27 guests to what was the 11th annual event, and the first in two years to include international visitors.

“The Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner is always a significant event,” said Jeremy Spear, AIMEX President and Managing Director of Spear Green Design.

“Aside from the good food, good company and the chance to relax and unwind among friends, it’s a fantastic opportunity to discuss industry issues and make new connections.”

Dining on delectable share platters, guests enjoyed focaccia rossa and ciabatta for starters, followed by mixed entrée of calamari, potato croquettes and salmon affumicato, and to finish, main courses of traditional Italian fare: braised lamb shoulder with vegetables, pollo pepato and pasta with veal ragu, complemented by Australian, NZ and Italian wines.

Wine bottles on table, with flowers and candles.
Guests enjoyed Australian, NZ and Italian wines.

Discussions covered topics raised at the ASMEX Conference under the thematic banner of ‘Reconnecting with the World’, such as the export climate, growth opportunities and the state of the global superyacht industry, to the services and facilities required in preparation for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.

David Good, Chief Executive Officer of AIMEX said the Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner has cemented its place in the industry calendar of events.

“It’s an essential wind-down for the speakers and it’s a nice, relaxing informal occasion after a long day in the conference room,” he noted.

“From conversations with the contingent from WA, they are very excited about the Western Australian Government’s commitment to supporting the superyacht industry with a similar strategy as Queensland.

“There was a lot of discussion about the Brisbane Olympics and whether we’re prepared for them, but we have 10 years, so there’s more than enough time to invest in infrastructure.

“Then there were interesting observations of the numbers of superyachts being sold to Australian owners in quite remarkable numbers. It has become a very lucrative market for brands including Benetti.”

Potato croquettes
Potato croquettes from Ioesco Café Cucina.

Journalist, David Robinson from IBI, said his first experience of ASMEX was “extremely informative about the Asia-Pacific”.

“It was interesting to hear about the Australian industry’s progress over the past few years, the Queensland and West Australian government commitment to a Superyacht Strategy, and Rivergate’s expansion plans. Then it’s just wonderful to relax over a nice meal with key industry figures and ask a few questions in a more relaxed setting with some very nice food and wines.”

Sarah Egan, Director of Boat Style and founder of the crew initiative ‘Interior Motives’, said the highlight of every Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner is the camaraderie and “genuine interest in what’s going on in Australia and our businesses”.

“It was good to see everybody in good shape. We’ve been so introspective for the past couple of years, it’s nice to get some broader perspective.

“People let their guard down, it’s relaxed and casual,” Sarah continued. “We have some really amazing conversations out of which have come life-long friendships, inspiration and sometimes business. It goes to prove that even if you are a small fish, you have a place at the table and can make a strong contribution to our industry.”

Man smiling with plate of meat in front of him.
Good food and good company.

Richard Chapman, AIMEX Director and Managing Director, Coursemaster Autopilots and HyDrive Engineering said the opportunity to dine, chat and share experiences with each other in an informal environment was the reason the Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner is a highlight of the calendar for so many people.

“This year, with the one-day format of ASMEX and the Awards the evening after, hosting the Rivergate-AIMEX VIP Dinner in the middle is very appropriate way to thank the international speakers and visitors.”

One of those international visitors, Peter Mahony, General Manager of Benetti Asia, is a familiar face at Rivergate and AIMEX events, and Benetti is a sponsor of the ASMEX Conference. Peter said he was ecstatic to be travelling once more and to attend ASMEX and SCIBS 2022.

“It’s extremely valuable in terms of industry insight,” he said. “And then the Rivergate-AIMEX Dinner is a great occasion to unwind and catch up with old friends.”

Tom Hill, Director at Rivergate, said he was pleased to witness a real sense of optimism among guests.

“It’s clear there’s a renewed energy in the superyacht industry. Rivergate Marina & Shipyard is committed to hosting events such as our Captains’ lunches and supporting regular events throughout the year in Australia, Tahiti, Fiji and NZ,” he said.

“We believe it’s an important way of fostering a better understanding among industry professionals, the chance to network and exchange ideas, reconnect with colleagues and hear their views about trends from all over the globe. This results in positive outcomes for businesses and the broader industry.”

More at www.rivergate.com.au

By Jeni Bone

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