The Düsseldorf Boot, the world's largest boat show?

Visitors wait for the Boot Düsseldorf doors to open © Bateaux.com

The Boot Düsseldorf is the largest boat show in Europe and there are rumours that it is even the largest boat show in the world. Each year it attracts more and more international exhibitors and a clientele in search of the latest innovations. The Boot opened its doors on 20 January 2018 and closed them on Sunday 28 January. The time has come to take stock, which is once again proving very positive with participation records! Next edition - the Boot will celebrate its 50th anniversary! - from 19 to 27 January 2019.

A record edition!

This year's Boot Düsseldorf confirms the trade fair's position as an international leader and sets new records. They were 1,923 exhibitors from 68 different countries to present boats - sailboats and motorboats - but also equipment and services on 220,000 m2 of space and 16 halls. "These numbers are unique in the industry. There's no other boat show in the world that reflects the global market in all its diversity like the Boot does." explains Werner M. Dornscheidt, CEO of Boot.

The German show has become a reference for French exhibitors. Only a few hours away by road or by flight, it allows to turn to a large and international clientele. Both to work on its notoriety and to sell, the French all turn to Düsseldorf! Moreover, the boat show was obliged this year to refuse exhibitors for lack of space and victim of its success.

It's not only on the exhibitors' side that the show was a big hit! Visitors flocked en masse to the aisles of the halls. 247,000 visitors from 94 countries different, compared to 242,000 in 2017. This shows the incredible growth of the German trade fair. The fair is now attracting more and more international visitors, although most of the visitors come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and France. Other "international" visitors came from the USA, China and Australia. Indeed, many French visitors come to Germany to find the boat of their dreams, where they have more choices than at French boat shows.

And indeed, the aisles were crowded with visitors of all nationalities. There was a peak in traffic on the weekends, even though boaters were also present during the week..

Rejuvenated visitors

If the objective of the yachting federations is to rejuvenate the population, the Boot is succeeding, as he states in his press release. "Our strategy of developing the international side of the Boot has worked. It is now clearly visible in our visitor typology. There has also been a generational change. The visitors are much younger," says Boot director Petros Michelidakis.

This situation is explained by the management of the exhibition by its activities for the youngest visitors. Even if the Boot still has many halls dedicated to boating, it is opening up more and more to young people. In particular with a new "Beach World" in hall 8, with its large 65 m swimming pool allowing to practice the Optimist or with "The Wave" its surfing wave, a real attraction for the youngest.

With a hall dedicated to the world of surfing, the Boot Düsseldorf recorded 10% more visitors than last year. 110,000 visitors were able to watch surfing demonstrations on The Wave while 1,500 tried it out.

A global growth in boating?

The growth recorded in recent years has been confirmed in 2017 and in particular with this first show of the season. Manufacturers expect that the impetus provided by the Boot will lead to substantial sales growth in the new yacht segment. In fact, the trend is towards large units, both sailing and motor.

The sailing ship halls (15 to 17) attracted many visitors in search of large units. According to the show, units over 60 feet and catamarans attracted the largest number of visitors. A fact retained by the exhibitors, who moreover presented the largest yachts ever exhibited.

Luxury yachts made a particular impression on the public in Hall 6. All the major players in the market were present and every square metre was reserved. This was an opportunity for visitors to discover ever larger and more luxurious models. According to the shipyards, visitors - a younger population than before - are interested in sophisticated electronic equipment and quality interior designs.

The Diving Centre (Hall 3) also attracted many visitors, who came to discover the trendy equipment and destinations or to dive in pools in contact with experts. Finally, the "Houseboats" sector attracted many visitors (a popular practice in the Nordic countries).

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