October 1, 2023

Back to Genoa Boat Show

I have not been to any of the big International boat shows since many years, and now in 2023 I returned to Genova's Salone Nautico, after nineteen years.  My last attendance was in 2004, nineteen years ago, that time it was a boating renaissance of the noughties, with most if not all Italian builders enjoying a huge expansion bar none, fuelled by leasing and easy boating mortgage schemes of those times.

The Italian boat show is a special place for me.  It was the show I always wanted to visit when young, also to discover more about the less known Italian names, followed by the many American brands attending the show with high importance and numbers, with British and Scandinavian names also showing in good force.  I am sure I would love Cannes which I had to cancel a few times due to other commitments, the two US Fort Lauderdale and Miami boat shows, and to a lesser extent Dusseldorf.  This last mostly because it is a land show, and I believe boats, especially big ones upwards of fifteen meters should be seen in the water.

The 2023 Genoa boat show was packed, at least that was what I saw in the opening two days. The previous editions I attended used to have 300,000 plus of visitors in nine days.  The smaller six days format of the recent editions are doing over 100,000 plus of visits.  The Fiera Genova was also a bit work in progress mode, on entrance for the new waterfront island area, though this affected little to the show, with a small exception on the entrance part. They are working hard to make the boat show a bigger and better one.

Since some years the major Italian brands which used to make Genoa the show, are not supporting it as they used to, presenting there World premiers in Cannes.  Still some brands did premier at Genoa, the most important one coming from Spanish Astondoa new AX8 model, which just arrived an hour or so after the show opened.  Other Italian names debuting at Genoa are the Amer 950, CNT Domina RS, Italyure 35, Mig 45, Manda Yachts Senses 05, and Tornado Yachts 50 RS.  The fact that Astondoa debuted its AX8 in Genoa is a good sign, as this is the largest Spanish production boat building brand using the show for an important World preview.

Genoa is a victim of globalisation and the centralization this brings with it. If Genoa wants to be as attractive to Cannes it will need the help of other factors beside a bigger show, starting from a better connected Airport.  Nice Cote d'Azur Airport which serves Cannes and is thirty minutes away from the boat show is the third busiest airport in France with fourteen million a year plus passenger traffic.  Genoa Cristoforo Colombo sees less then two million, the 21st position as Italian airports go.  Cannes still has an edge in accommodation, though today things are better in Genoa with AirBnB and Booking.com platforms easier to what they have been in the past.

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