The Barcelona International Boat Show attracts 108,000 visitors

The 50th edition of one of Europe’s most important nautical trade fairs came to an end having “exceeded” initial expectations “despite the complex economic situation”, said the show Director. The organisation has highlighted the preservation of trust in the exhibition, as the number of exhibitors only dropped by 5%. This year’s edition focused on boat innovation and engine efficiency to attract a public economically undermined by the crisis.

CNA / Sara Gómez

November 14, 2011 06:16 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The 50th edition of the Barcelona International Boat Show closed its doors on Sunday with more than 108,000 visitors. The event gathered 324 exhibitors and offered around 200 activities where professionals of the nautical sector and non-professional public were able to enjoy the most important appointment of this kind in Spain and one of the most relevant in Europe. The Director of the boat show, Jordi Freixas, stated that “ initial expectations have been exceeded despite the complex economic situation”. He also stressed that “this has been a special year” since the boat show celebrated its 50th anniversary.

A wide range of activities

The Gran Via venue of Fira de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Trade Fair) and Barcelona’s Port Vell (the city’s old port) were again the locations chosen for the boat show. They served as the perfect place for demonstrations of trailer driving, sea baptisms, virtual racing, cruise lotteries, boat race presentations and lectures on the nautical industry. At the boat show, visitors also found boats on display as well as accessories, trailers, engines and everything related to the sailing world. An attractive and versatile offer that on the one hand places Barcelona as a reference city in fairs related to this sector in Europe, and, on the other, shows that Catalonia is the first Spanish Autonomous Community in nautical market share.

Fewer but more interested visitors

Jordi Freixas noted that the “ambitious objectives” they set out have been accomplished and that the exhibitors maintain their trust in the event. In this year’s edition, 324 national and international exhibitors have participated, a 5% drop in participation compared to 2010. When talking about the influx of visitors, "exhibitors prefer fewer but more quality visitors, rather than having full corridors of people that are not interested in navigation”, explained Freixas. The visitor’s “professionalisation” is a repeated tendency from previous years. This edition’s visitor “is an interested visitor, that has informed himself in advance”, explained the event's Director. “They come to the boat show to get details or to compare the offers on the product they are looking for”, concluded Freixas.

New features to attract a cautious client

The Barcelona International Boat Show has helped to stimulate the commercial activity of the nautical market by promoting new sales and contacts. The exhibitors, in addition, presented several new national and international features and showed the latest tendencies of a sector that nowadays seeks a more functional, innovative and ecologic navigation. It is the only way to attract a buyer that has become extremely prudent since the outbreak of the financial crisis.

Efficiency is the exhibitors weapon to fight the crisis

The main new element is the presentation of more efficient engines, which consume less fuel and respect the environment. Volvo is one of the eight companies in the boat show that has participated since the creation of the event 50 years ago. Together with other competitors, the Swedish company has set an example of innovation during these times of crisis. They presented a 400 horsepower engine that performs like that of a 600 horsepower engine, which leaves more space for cabins and above all, reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions. “We reduced our sales and this is the only way to stay in the market. We spend the same amount in new product development than we did prior to the crisis”.

Other solutions to boost the navigation market

The drop in boat sales demands a search for other economically profitable solutions. The fair’s organisers confirmed that renting has nowadays become one of the most accepted options that allow the enjoyment of navigation. It is a practice that brings together many followers in Catalonia, as evidenced by the 36,000 new certifications and 194,000 new licenses granted during 2010. Freixas assured that at the boat show “there are possibilities for every pocket and for all tastes”.