Cannes and La Rochelle Boat Shows: Surprising attendance figures

Crowd on the pontoons of the Grand Pavois boat show

As every year, the organizers of the fall boat shows report encouraging results and provide figures. Comparisons between the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Grand Pavois reveal surprises that we have tried to sort out with the organisers.

Attendance: more visitors to the Grand Pavois than to the Cannes Yachting Festival?

The number of visitors is the key indicator for boat show organizers. At the time of the assessment of the two biggest events of the French yachting season, the figures may surprise. While the Cannes Yachting Festival enjoys a higher status in the eyes of observers, it only has 51,000 visitors in 6 days, while the Grand Pavois de la Rochelle is pleased to have welcomed 82,000 visitors over an identical period. Surprised by these figures, which contrast with the feeling in the aisles, BoatIndustry asked the organisers about their counting methods.

Certified figures

"Our figures comply with the OJS counting rules. The French organization, referring for the show organizers, then validates them. These are official figures," explains Sylvie Ernoult, Commissioner of the Cannes Yachting Festival.
For his part, Pierrick Garenne, in charge of communication for the Grand Pavois, sent us the following written answer: "To answer your question about the 82,000 visitors to the Grand Pavois La Rochelle 2018 and after checking, it should be noted that our attendance is controlled by the company Dekra Certification, which has authenticated the 72,000 visitors to the 2018 edition, a figure to which we are adding - like the other exhibitions - a quota of 10,000 exhibitors' badge passes over the 6-day period."

accumulation of daily entries of exhibiting staff and visitors during the official opening days of the event
The Great Pavilion seen from the sky

Distinction between attendance and visitors

The certification of the figures and statistics of trade events in France (trade shows, consumer shows and fairs) has been mandatory since the decree of 12 June 2006 on the system of prior declaration of trade events. The OJS, commissioned by Reed Expo for the Cannes Yachting Festival, but also by the Grand Pavois until 2014, puts the statistics of the various editions online. It shows the difference between attendance and total number of visitors. Attendance is the "comparison is not right". The values to be compared would therefore be 72,000 visitors for the Grand Pavois in 2018 and 51,000 for the Cannes Yachting Festival. The growth in relation to the OJS's public values for 2014 is 4% for the Cannes show and 30% for the event in La Rochelle.

Brands, exhibitors and boats presented

The richness of a boat show is also the number of professionals it attracts and the number of boats on display. Again, the different names prevent comparisons. When the Cannes Yachting Festival announced 542 exhibitors, the Grand Pavois claimed 800 brands. According to the organizers, 638 boats were exhibited in Cannes and 750 in La Rochelle. The difference in size between the largest yachts in Cannes and the smallest dinghies in La Rochelle also makes the parallel difficult. Only the battle for novelties turns to the advantage of Cannes, placed earlier in the season, 219 were presented for the first time against 110 in the rocky pertuis.

The Cannes Yachting Festival from the sky

A race for numbers

We wanted to help you see more clearly in the ads of the shows, but ! This adage should not be forgotten when it comes to statistics. A homogeneous counting method would help the professional to choose his place of exposure, but let us not forget at the time of the decision that the quality of a fair is not only in the figures, but in its positioning, geographical and commercial. The Cannes Yachting Festival and the Grand Pavois each play their part in the French nautical landscape.

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