Balearic nautical companies position themselves in the international market
In the recent weeks after the summer season, the Balearic nautical sector has concentrated on participation in major international boat shows and fairs. Most of them are held in autumn except for the Palma International Boat Show, which usually takes place in spring and kicks off the international yachting season in one of best nautical destinations worldwide.
The autumn boat shows are characterized by the return of the on-site events after last year's virtual editions and also by the lack of stocks caused by the health crisis. Problems aside, so far it has been a very strong season of boat shows, with a growing number of exhibitors in most of the shows. In addition, the end customer this year is more selective and demanding, according to industry sources.
From Cannes to Barcelona
The most recent of these meetings was the Barcelona Boat Show, held last week at the Port Vell in Barcelona with more than 51,000 visitors, half a thousand boats and 184 exhibitors. The organizing committee of this fair includes the National Association of Nautical Companies (ANEN), which AENIB is part of.
The Cannes Yachting Festival opened the boat show season, taking place in early September and bringing together 575 exhibitors, 620 boats and 54,400 visitors, figures very similar to those in 2019. Soon after, in mid-September it was the turn of the Genoa Boat Show, recognized for always showing the most innovative boat designs. It had 92,377 visitors, 30% more than in the 2020 edition, and hosted up to 78 events, such as conferences, seminars, technical workshops, panels and presentations, in addition to 5,874 sea trials.
The Monaco Yacht Show, meanwhile, was held at the end of September, with more than a hundred of the world's most luxurious superyachts and megayachts on display together with more than 500 major luxury yachting companies.
Next in line will be the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), which will take place in mid-November in Amsterdam. It is the world's largest trade show in the sector and includes all kinds of activities and products related to yachting. In its last edition, it accommodated 1,600 exhibitors and received more than 16,000 visitors.
Balearic Islands are asserting themselves
Marivent Yachts is one of the Balearic companies that has been present at most of the fairs, mainly as a visitor or, in the case of the Barcelona Boat Show, as an exhibitor. Oliver Frols, the CEO of the company, observes that "visitors have returned to the fairs with enthusiasm and are eager to purchase boats. Demand is very good, but supply causes problems, because supply chains are broken and shipyards are short of all kinds of materials, from engines to seats. I'm afraid this situation is not going to be resolved any time soon," he laments. In any event, "given the limited expectations that existed, the fairs, and specifically the one in Barcelona, have been very positive," he observes.
He also stresses that in this situation, "the Balearic Islands are gaining position worldwide, and the Palma Boat Show is growing in importance because of its international aspect. However, an age-old problem of the archipelago remains and hinders the sector: the lack of moorings. Customers know it, and demand a guaranteed mooring before purchasing a boat," he says.
"We have been as visitors at almost all the fairs, and there is a good atmosphere, the sector as a whole is focused on relaunching itself after the pandemic˝, explains Nacho Maza, financial manager of Metalnox. This Mallorca-based company, focused on repairs in the nautical sector and specializing in the line of propulsion, has opted this year to participate as an exhibitor at METS, "the top event for those of us who are dedicated to repairs˝, he says. "With the pandemic, repairs and big part of the rest of the industry came to a standstill, but at the same time yachting became a refuge for those who could afford it. Consequently, as we can see the end of the tunnel now, activity has revived. There is a feeling in the sector that the worst has passed and now it is time for a recovery. In fact, there is a waiting list to exhibit at METS," he points out.
"In addition, in the case of METS, many country sections have disappeared, as is the case with Australia and China, or are much reduced like USA, due to the pandemic and restrictions. That gives a big window of opportunity for European companies," he analyzes. "The Balearic Islands remain an idyllic enclave in the middle of the Mediterranean and have a very powerful and healthy nautical sector, so the current moment is ideal to continue positioning the archipelago in the heart of the global marine industry. Besides, the nautical sector can carry on with a significant contribution to the economy of the Islands," he reflects.
This year, ecological transition and green economy in yachting has been a major theme at the sector's main trade fairs. For example, the Cannes show included a green circuit, with more than 50 exhibitors showing their concepts in favor of ecology and the new green technologies that will define the nautical sector in the future. For its part, the Barcelona Show has sought to stimulate the ecological transition of the sector while bringing the practice of nautical sports to new audiences.