A MAJOR boating and watersports show will return to North Wales next year thanks to growing interest in the event, it was announced today.

The All Wales Boat Show 2016 will take place in Pwllheli again at Plas Heli, the new Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre.

It follows two highly successful years in Conwy and a very wet first year in Pwllheli in 2015, where it gained considerable interest from the marine and tourism sectors and attracted thousands of visitors.

Organisers believe the All Wales Boat Show plugs a hole in the market and helps highlight the huge potential in Wales, where the marine leisure industry still only accounts for 2.4% of the UK as a whole, according to the British Marine Federation (BMF).

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism welcomed the news. He said: “Building on the previous success’s of this event, I am delighted that Pwllheli will be hosting the 2015 All Wales Boat Show. It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Plas Heli, the town’s £8.3m sailing academy and events centre.

“The marine leisure industry in Wales is a major player in terms of economic development and the Welsh Government is determined to see the marine leisure industry grow and endeavour to ensure that coastal communities will benefit from this expanding market.”

The 2016 All Wales Boat Show will take place from Friday June 10th to Sunday 11th.

Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of Wales Watersports International which operates the All Wales Boat Show, said opportunities were now open for sponsors, exhibitors and supporters.

Those already onboard include marine specialists GJW Insurance, The Warren (Haulfryn Group) and marine law experts Hill Dickinson.

Davina said the show was indebted to Conwy and Deganwy Quay marinas for establishing the spectacle as an annual event.

“We enjoyed two great years in Conwy but such was the success we simply need more space,” she said.

“Pwllheli offers this but keeps the event in Wales, close to some of this country’s best coastline and inland waters, and to local economies which this sector supports.

2016 will be a big year for Pwllheli and the Llyn Peninsula with Plas Heli, the new Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre, which has received an £8.3 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council.

Davina added: “Wales has a spectacular, scenic coastline of natural beauty with many safe anchorages, harbours and marinas. The capacity for growth is recognised and if nurtured sensitively will provide excellent potential to stimulate the economies of coastal communities.

“We believe the show can be a big success, and put down a real marker for the huge potential of the marine sector in Wales and the positive impact it can have on our economy as a whole.”

The All Wales Boat Show is designed to appeal to local, regional and international visitors.

In 2015 thousands flocked to the three-day event, which featured luxury yachts through to power boats, coracles and even boats on wheels.

Boats were on show from Sealine, Hanse, Jeanneau, Beneteaeu, Robalo, Chapparal, Quicksilver and Bayliner, plus over 100 exhibiotors.

According to the BMF, the marine leisure sector supported 7,600 full time-equivalent jobs in Wales in 2013.

With events such as the All Wales Boat Show, developments such as Plas Heli and marina expansions, these numbers are set to increase.