With just three months to go before the event, on 14-18 October, the Barcelona International Boat Show 2015 is hoisting its sails and has already embarked on its marketing phase, with great prospects. As well as being the biggest and most varied sports and recreational sailing trade show in Spain, the event organized by Fira de Barcelona will once again be featuring numerous activities and experiences for the general public and nautical professionals alike. Some of the new features this year include the participation of a group of scuba-diving firms.
Visitors to the show, which is held on the wharves of España and La Fusta in Port Vell, can once again enjoy the floating exhibition – with boats from eight metres long and upwards – as well as the land-based one, featuring all kinds of innovations, products and nautical services which range from electronics and engines to paints, sails, trailers, fishing and scuba-diving gear, boat charters and marinas, plus small boats and dinghies.
"The Barcelona Boat Show is the key platform for the sector in Spain, an unparalleled commercial showcase and a must-visit event for all lovers of sports and recreational sailing," says the show's president, Luis Conde. "This year we're looking forward to more exhibitors, more exhibition space and a bigger offering, commensurate with the change in trend that started last year, demonstrating that the show is a faithful reflection of the sector, which is also showing positive signs of recovery."
In the same tone, the event's director, Jordi Freixas, explains that "we're currently in the middle of the sales phase and the booking rate is good: we're being contacted by new companies, some of them foreign, which shows a renewed commitment to the Spanish market, and we're also welcoming back firms that have exhibited at previous events, and we're also witnessing a move towards bigger stands and hence a bigger offering."
The general secretary of the National Association of Nautical Companies (ANEN), Carlos Sanlorenzo, says that"figures from the first half of the year are good, and consolidate the growth in the market. This is a slow but progressive growth which at this time of the year also reflects the peak demand of the sailing season. We're confident that the market will continue in this buoyant spirit, though we're aware that client profiles and their uses have changed. Boat rentals are one of the big drivers behind recovery and sales are focused mainly on more affordable boats due to this unjustified tax pressure." According to ANEN's figures, in the first six months of the year 2,644 boats recreational boats were registered in Spain, 15.5% more than in the same period in 2014, when there were 2,289 new registrations.
The USA pavilion is back again
After the excellent results last year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is renewing its commitment to the show and is once again promoting the Barcelona event to nautical companies in the United States and collaborating in the organization of an official US Pavilion which hopes to include more firms than in 2014. Managers from the NMMA, along with their strategic partners from the Commercial Service in Madrid, confirm that the Spanish nautical market has the capacity for growth thanks to the country's 7,000+ kilometres of coastline, its excellent climate, a powerful tourism sector, great infrastructures and a deep-rooted core of sailing enthusiasts.
Free Navigation Licence course for buyers
With the aim of promoting sailing for beginners, one of the new features at this year's event is a special promotion by a group of exhibitors, in collaboration with the show, who will be giving buyers of small boats (between 4.5 and 6 metres with engines of 20 to 150 HP) a free course to obtain their Navigation Licence, given by a collaborating nautical school. The show will also be publishing an update of the Towable Boats Guide which was released last year; a highly practical and straightforward tool for people who want to get started in the world of recreational sailing. Amongst other things, the new text is expected to include aspects relating to new qualifications and information on marinas in the Balearic Islands.
An ocean of nautical and gastronomic experiences
The show will once again be using the Marina Port Vell facilities and this year is adding a new social centre for visitors and exhibitors: the One Ocean Club Restaurant, thus freeing up space for increasing the commercial offering in the Village. Another new attraction is a new restaurant area and chill out zone at the end of the Espanya wharf.
The show will also host the usual themed areas on Moll de la Fusta where the majority of activities take place. The Fun Beach zone not only showcases all kinds of products and services related to nautical sports but also has an area for sea trials so visitors can take part in beginners' sessions in dinghy sailing, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing and paddle surfing, amongst others, as well as the wave pool, which was introduced last year for ‘surfing.' Meanwhile, the Espai del Mar, an area designed for presentations of regattas, books, trophies and prizes, will also be hosting debates and conferences on the marine environment and every aspect of sailing; while the Traditional Sailing zone will be showcasing classical boats.
For the professional sector, the Boat Show will once again host an extensive programme of conferences and seminars, including a variety of activities organized by ANEN. It is also expected that many exhibitors at the show will be organizing their own activities and parties on their stands, most of them on Friday 16 October to coincide with Nautical Night which this year will include live concerts.
According to an opinion survey conducted by Fira de Barcelona, the three main reasons for visiting the show last year were a love of sailing (52%), to find out about new products on the market (29%) and to buy (23%). Among the group who came with the intention of buying, 35% were looking for sailing accessories, 32% for motorboats and 12% for surfing and windsurfing equipment, more than double the figure last year. The survey also reflected the significant increase in younger visitors, which was one of the goals of the event: visitors in the 18-30 age range doubled in numbers, from 9% to 18%. When it came to satisfaction levels, 83% said they were "quite or very satisfied" with their visit and felt it had met their expectations (almost eight points higher than the same question in 2013). The survey also demonstrated the high visitor loyalty to the show, with 86% of visitors having been to the show before and 88% saying they would be back again in 2015.
The Barcelona Boat Show was a founding member of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO) and continues to serve as an international benchmark. Organized annually by Fira de Barcelona, the show enjoys the support and collaboration of ANEN in its capacity as the senior representative of the nautical business and industrial sector at national level and as an advisory body for promoting and developing the sector within the framework of the event.