There are things that no one can change.
Because they resist everything, including the misguided attempts of some delirious politicians who, neglectful of their birth of place and the existence of 8,309 km of coastline in their country, try to destroy boat industry.
There are things that resist that typical passion that distinguishes Italy from the rest of the world, sometimes fruitful but at other times resulting into trivial arguments to the detriment of patience and foresight.
And there are things that resist, get up, roll up their sleeves and start again. A bit like the best Italy, that of the second postwar period, the country of reconstruction.
The Genoa International Boat Show – we sometimes forget this – was inaugurated at 14.00 on January 27th 1962 to represent Italian boat industry and, above all, Italy in the world. This is maybe why, with both pride and sense of national responsibility, we are glad to write about the rediscovered success of the Genoa Boat Show.
And we are very pleased to have a chat with Alessandro Campagna, Genoa Boat Show Sales Manager. Alessandro has been working for the event since 2006. Despite the dramatic Italian economic crisis of the latest years, he has never given up, he has resisted and, now, he is one of the people who have contributed the most to the relaunch of this wonderful event.
The first signs of recovery already emerged last year when the final balance highlighted a growing turnout. Almost 130 thousand visitors crowded the stands of the over 800 exhibitors that, thanks to the new public interest and with an appropriate dose of caution, had expressed their satisfaction.
Though not yet started, the 2017 edition promises record numbers and successful achievements. First of all, the event records the highest percent growth of the last nine years (94 % according to the data collected last week) in terms of exhibitors that have decided to come back to Genoa.
This unprecedented record is accompanied by the excellent data concerning new applications: 37 new exhibitors have already confirmed their presence at the 57th edition but, of course, the number is expected to grow. Among them, there are some top international brands like Azimut Yachts, Gottifredi Maffioli, Volvo Penta, Sea Ray and Zodiac.
This great success has inevitably resulted into the need for new larger exhibition areas which will open their doors next September 21st.
It is against this background that, armed with his curiosity, our Editor-in-Chief, Luca D’Ambrosio, started to interview Alessandro.
L: We’re with Alessandro Campagna, Sales Manager of this wonderful boat show. Alessandro is the man who manages the huge turnout of exhibitors who join the most visited boat show of the Mediterranean from all around the world. Well, Alessandro, 2016 launched a significant recovery and a new era for both the boat show and Italian boat industry. Both exhibitors and visitors have significantly increased. This year, boat industry is continuing to grow all around the world. What can we expect from the 57th Genoa Boat Show?
A: A massive growth of the boat show is undoubtedly expected to come, both in numerical and qualitative terms. We’ve done a really good work over the last few years in order to maintain the positioning of Genoa and not renounce valuable shares in this complex market. We have prepared for this positive moment. The data provided by the last Ucina assembly have showed a +18% growth compared to the previous year. This is a prove of the fact that the Mediterranean, Europe and Italy are an extremely important basin. To the date, we’ve already confirmed 94% of the last edition’s exhibitors; consequently, turnover will be very low. This is very important, especially if compared to the last two years when the average ranged between 15 and 18%. And what is even more positive is that 58% of exhibitors has asked for larger exhibition areas.
L: How is the Boat Show preparing to this growth? Are you improving your exhibition areas?
A: We’re trying to rationalize what we can offer; in the last few years, the coefficient of occupancy rate already reached interesting values. Today, the new challenge is to fight against every square metre available to offer new exhibition opportunities. Compared to the last edition, we have strengthened the ground exhibition capacity with 4,000 additional square metres and arranged a new layout in the dry dock reserved for motoryachts. This way, quays can now host about 50-60 boats more than the last edition.
L: The International Yachting Media experienced its debut at Genoa Boat Show four years ago. At that time, we were just a small innovative startup but you always welcomed us in all the editions. Thanks to you, we’ve become the first yachting media in the world. How important are new companies and innovation for the Genoa Boat Show?
A: Although often neglected and overshadowed by big companies, they represent an important factor for the boat show. I think that a product like the boat show should focus on new realities and young startups emerging in the nautical scenario in order to demonstrate what boat industry acgtually is and encourage new perspectives for the future. For example, this year, Genoa Boat Show will host a beautiful reality from Politecnico di Milano which is currently developing a new fiberglass construction and management technology through 3D printers. A new way to perform in the nautical scenario through innovative technologies.
L: Let’s talk about visitors. I’ve already seen that you have a lot of activities and novelties in store. What is it about?
A: Over the last few years, the Boat Show has always wanted to perform an important work since it doesn’t want to be just a showcase for those having the purchase of a new boat or a new boat accessory as their own goal but it wants to be also an opportunity to share the passion of the sea. So, we’ve always tried to introduce contents able to meet different needs and expectations. Over the last few years, we’ve managed to involve the world of sports in order to let everyone enjoy a first contact with the sea and the beauty of sea experiences. Maybe with just a small paddle or a kayak at first, visitors can then become boat owners. If you don’t love the sea, boat industry will inevitably lose its users.
A: My advice to them is to stay a little longer in Genoa. Liguria is an extraordinary region, maybe a little difficult to explore but with wonderful, unique realities that represent the strength of our country and our boat industry. If we want to make a purely qualitative evaluation, I don’t think there’s a more beautiful hub where to enjoy yachting than Italy. Maybe the recent crisis, our troubles and character have recently contributed to hidden rather than to enhance the beautiful aspects of our country. But we’re innovative, proactive and we are always able to get out of difficult situations: we were born and live in a territory that is the envy of the whole world. So, stay a little longer in Genoa and let your visit include the city of Genoa and Liguria, too.