Not all of Europe is on the ropes

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Attendance was lower this year, but the nine-day Dusseldorf show had 1,741 exhibitors and attracted 240,000 people.

Attendance was lower this year, but the nine-day Dusseldorf show had 1,741 exhibitors and attracted 240,000 people.

This year’s Düsseldorf boat show included 1,741 exhibitors from 57 countries, as some boatbuilders stepped up their presence in an effort to capitalize on the relatively strong economic region in a still-lagging European market.

The show, which took place Jan. 17-25 in the Düsseldorf Exhibition Center in Germany, saw growing demand in nearly all product sectors and filled nearly 700,000 square feet of 17 exhibition halls. Wintry weather affected attendance, which fell from 248,600 to 240,200, but organizers and exhibitors say the people who showed up were qualified buyers.

Companies such as Ferretti have chosen to have a direct presence at the show because of its growing importance, favorable timing and because “it’s a strategic location for our business in some of our core European markets,” says Andrea Biondi, a Ferretti Group spokeswoman. Those markets include Germany, Switzerland, northern Europe and Russia.

The group displayed four models — the Rivarama Super and Aquariva Super — and two premieres for the German market, the Ferretti Yachts 750 and the Pershing 62. The latter two belong to the category between 60 and 80 feet, a “very appealing range on these markets,” says Stefano de Vivo, chief commercial officer for Ferretti.

The show played “a crucial role” for the group and for the overall industry, de Vivo says. “As held just after the beginning of the new year, it may allow us to get in direct contact with customers, journalists, dealers and yachting enthusiasts from Germany, Switzerland, and northern and eastern Europe, showing them our amazing models months before the spring and summer seasons.”

Perhaps more important, this part of the continent is characterized by a high standard of living and a still growing economy, de Vivo says.

“With the aim to focus our business in this crucial part of the EMEA market, our group decided after a few years to take part directly at Boot [Düsseldorf], of course with the strong effort of our local exclusive dealers,” he says.

The increased presence paid off, de Vivo says. The company says it saw an increase of about 50 percent in attendance at its booth. More than half of the leads came from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Turkish yacht builder Numarine returned to the show after a four-year break, says its president, Omer Malaz, because the company believes it is an important venue to communicate with dealers, potential dealers, clients and editors. The company had a very successful show, he said in an email. “We launched our latest project, the 60 Flybridge, and told everyone what is happening with us. We were with no boats this year, but we are working hard to come with one of our new models in 2016.”

Arcadia Yachts has used the show to establish itself as a recognized superyacht builder as the company seeks to evolve toward larger yachts, says Arcadia president Ugo Pellegrino.

The yard has enjoyed success with sales of its Arcadia 85 model, but as 2015 begins, Arcadia’s focus is increasingly on the production of yachts larger than 30 meters.

A new 30.5-meter Arcadia 100 has been introduced to the market, with hull No. 1 being built on spec. And negotiations are at a “very advanced” stage for construction to begin on the first Arcadia 145, which, once completed, will be the first steel hull the company has built. It is being sold to an Arcadia customer who wants to move up in size with the shipyard.

“The Arcadia brand is on the rise, and more and more customers are approaching the yard,” Pellegrino says. “We are the most different shipyard on the market; Arcadia projects are totally different.”

Those differences are, according to Pellegrino, comprehensive, ranging from the way the yachts are built to the superstructure design, which is an expansive composition of solar panels. The company says they generate as much as 25 percent of the yacht’s electricity requirements.

Grand Banks also continued to promote its latest models at the Düsseldorf show, bringing the GB 54 Heritage EU, the 55 Aleutian RP and the 43 Heritage EU, which debuted in Europe at the most recent Cannes Yachting Festival in 2014, says Hank Compton, sales director for Europe and the Asia Pacific for the company.

Builders increasingly need to get in front of the region’s more affluent consumers in order to compete with other trawler builders, he says.

“Grand Banks needed to hold position in Germany,” Compton says. “In addition to GB, the group introduced the Palm Beach motoryacht Australia, which is a completely new brand for European markets. With that, the GB group will be able to meet a larger range of requests from all over Europe.”

Princess and Sunseeker featured a range of 30- and 26-meter models. The show included 100 premieres of boats and yachts, including 22 world premieres, organizers say.

Nearly 25 percent of the 240,200 visitors from 60 countries participated in the new “Experience 360 Degrees Water Sports” exhibit, which included 20 experience-themed worlds.

“We are satisfied with the course of trade fair business, although we were not able to follow on from last year’s record results,” Messe Düsseldorf president and CEO Werner Matthias Dornscheidt said in a statement. “The winter weather on the second Saturday, which traditionally attracts most visitors, prevented many guests from visiting the show. Add to this minor attendance losses on several weekdays. But this does not affect the overall assessment of the trade fair and its position on the exhibition scene: With its traditionally well over 200,000 high-caliber visitors in Europe’s region with the highest buying power, boot Düsseldorf remains a guarantor for good contacts and business and a reliable marketplace for the boating and water sports industries.”

The next Düsseldorf show will be held Jan. 23-31, 2016.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue.

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