As participants reunited in the flesh, the quays of Port Hercule filled with a unanimous and very palpable feeling of euphoria. Legitimate questions raised over the last few months concerning the show’s new format finally gave way to a long awaited - and truly successful - Monaco Yacht Show.
Initial feedback from exhibitors and yachting media reports all point to a positive and encouraging conclusion: the MYS has risen up to the industry-wide challenge set forth a few months ago, by building the show around the visitors’ experience and that of (future) yacht buyers in particular.
Gaëlle Tallarida, general director of the MYS: “We worked alongside stakeholders from across the industry in order to put on a show that meets the latter’s expectations and, more specifically, those of their clientele. The 2021 MYS appears to have benefited from the excitement spurred by this reunion, as well as from the favourable state of the market, with an increase in yacht sales over the last 18 months - clients have turned to yachting to escape the gloomy context that the pandemic has brought about and the frustration of having their freedom restricted. Therefore, 2021 has been a win-win for everyone involved in yachting. Thanks to the steering committee founded this year, we intend to pursue our collaboration in order to further improve the MYS for the 2022 edition.”
In 2021, the exhibition appeared more diverse than ever, thus disproving the cautious predictions made by the organisers at the beginning of the summer. Week after week, the show came to life in sync with the increasing general excitement. While 300 exhibitors and a maximum of 90 yachts had originally been announced, the 2021 MYS featured 440 exhibitors and 101 superyachts, half of which were launched in 2020 and 2021, reaching an estimated total worth of €3.6 billion at the start of the show. Featured yachts included 37 new launches and 14 superyachts measuring over 70m in length.
19,000 Visitors: Less is More
Travel constraints and health regulations partly explain the drop in attendance on Monaco’s quaysides, but a reduced turnout had in fact been expected and planned for by the organisers. Their objective was to decrease the number of visitors, whilst focusing on specific profiles and thereby facilitating connections between exhibitors and their targeted clientele.
The MYS also benefitted from more clear-cut themed exhibition areas, thus improving the visitors’ experience: on the first day of the show (accessible upon invitation only), yacht owners and future yacht buyers and charterers - 300 of whom were invited by the MYS organisers - enjoyed an exclusive and therefore more pleasant access to the Dockside Area. Here, they discovered a wide variety of yachts and tenders and met designers, brokers and shipyards. In the air-conditioned tents set up on Quai Antoine Ier, yacht owner representatives, advisors (who also had access to the Dockside Area on Day 1) and visitors from within the industry were able to further exchange with attending equipment manufacturers and luxury brands.
According to the show’s yacht builders and brokers, their visiting schedules were full from the very start of the event and potential clients came on board with serious intent to buy. This trend certainly fits in with the current rise in yacht sales.
Builders remain confident that the new MYS format will eventually bring enormous added value to the industry. Theo Hooning, secretary general of SYBAss (an association of 40+ metre yacht builders): “The 2021 edition of the Monaco Yacht Show was the first opportunity to see the results of a change in approach to the show, by placing the focus firmly on the customers of the industry rather than the business activities within it. The result was a more relaxed atmosphere, and with no overcrowding of the quays the experience for those customers was much more in line with the superyacht experience itself. It is important that we capitalise on this opportunity and continue on our chosen path, improving where necessary. In this way, the Monaco Yacht Show will maintain its important and high-profile role both by showcasing the unique products shaped by the industry and also by promoting the superyacht lifestyle.”
The Monaco Yacht Show: The key to the yachting world
The day before the show, the 5th edition of the Monaco Yacht Summit - which has become a yearly staple here - welcomed some sixty owners, charterers and future buyers (or their representatives) in a positively confidential setup. Before visiting the show the following day, participants had the opportunity to talk with various speakers, designers, brokers and builders, gleaning essential information in order to safely embark on their yacht construction, chartering or purchasing projects.
Meeting designers and sailboat builders
Among the new additions to the 2021 MYS, the Yacht Design & Innovation Hub offered visitors a better understanding of a custom yacht’s construction process and a look into the future of superyacht design, thanks to lectures by designers Espen Øino, Luiz De Basto Designs, Sam Sorgiovanni, Sinot Yacht Architecture and Design and Winch Design. This interactive space also allowed attending designers to present their work, giving visitors an opportunity to meet the experts who will design their future yacht.
The new Sailing Yacht Area featured no less than 12 large sailing yachts. A fitting number, given that sail boats currently represent 15% of the world’s yachting fleet. This space dedicated to sailing yachts targeted a new yachting clientele, showcasing the benefits of a sportier and more environmentally friendly way of sailing, whilst still enjoying the same level of comfort, technology and facilities as on board motor yachts.
The success of the 2021 MYS was all but a foregone conclusion: despite a favourable and flourishing market, the pandemic made exhibitors’ participation and the unfolding of the show itself quite uncertain.
The very real enthusiasm that filled Port Hercule is therefore a sure sign that the MYS remains a powerful vector for promoting and marketing yachting activities.
The 2021 edition thus marks a key step in the MYS’s new approach for the coming years: the event aims to offer a tailor-made platform to promote superyachting for a new generation of customers, thus benefitting all sectors across the market.