IT has delivered a multi-million pound boost to the city and sparked a tide of optimism for the region’s boating industry.

Around £16m has been ploughed into the local economy after 123,000 people walked through the turnstiles during ten spectacular days at the PSP Southampton Boat Show, which closed last night.

Millions are believed to have been spent on boats and boating services over the last week-and-a-half as visitors flocked to Mayflower Park.

The show’s managing Director Andrew Williams said that visitor numbers had held up well overall compared to previous years – in sharp contrast to other boat shows around the world, which had seen a drop in figures.

But the real success has been the financial windfall for the industry and for the city’s economy as visitors splashed out on accommodation, taxis, dining and shopping.

He said: “Southampton is still very well attended and we are very pleased with that.

We are estimating that 123,000 people have come in through the gates which is a great result.

“For UK boat builders, the show is the shop window to the world, so this is without doubt a necessary event for business in the area.

“The revenue from sales has been similar to last year. This is a success story in my eyes.”

Mingling with the crowds this year were celebrity entertainers Jim Davidson and Nick Hancock as well as Theo Paphitis from BBC One’s Dragons’ Den.

He joined Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who cut the ribbon at the launch of the £12.5m Sunseeker 40m motor yacht – the 200 tonne vessel which features four decks, six bedrooms and a fold-out balcony.

Formula 1’s Eddie Jordan was also spotted by event organisers and adventurer Bear Grylls was signing autographs after returning from his latest intrepid challenge navigating the treacherous Northwest Passage in just a small inflatable boat.

This year, 350 boats were moored up alongside the show’s pontoons – a further 650 were on dry land.

More than 8,000 people took trips out on the water on any number of crafts from hi-tech ribs and luxury powerboats to dinghies and pedalos.

From the shore, one of the stand-out features this year was the arrival of HMS Dauntless – the Royal Navy’s latest Type 45 destroyer.

The vessel came along shore shortly after the departure of the giant liner Independence of the Seas.