But numbers down at Dusseldorf Boat Show

More than 238,000 visitors from 65 countries visited the Dusseldorf Boat Show: 29,000 fewer than in 2008, but nevertheless sparking claims that the industry is enjoying a ‘resurgence’ of serious interest.

Spread across 220,000 square metres of exhibition space covering 17 halls, more than 1,641 exhibitors from 57 countries were there.

“The show was staged under some of the most difficult conditions imaginable
for a consumer fair. As anticipated, there was a dip in visitor numbers but
we managed to retain those yachting and watersports enthusiasts with high
purchasing power and they have given the industry new impetus,” commented
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “The show
has once again proven its standing as an economic barometer and source of
stimulus for business.”

This is confirmed by Jürgen Tracht, managing director of the Bundesverband
Wassersportwirtschaft (Federal Association of the Watersports Industry –
BVWW): “At the end of the first weekend, a collective sigh of relief went
through the halls. That was the psychological turning point.”

Also attesting to the high calibre and purchasing power of attendees are the
initial visitor surveys. Seventy-one percent of visitors indicated that they
intended to buy boats, equipment or watersports gear in 2009. Just under 60
percent made purchases or placed orders at boot. A total of 45,000 visitors
arrived from abroad. Interest in the event is on the rise throughout the
Americas and the Middle East.

According to Jürgen Tracht, the market for boats and yachts is characterised
by a distinct trend: “Customers value innovation and quality over price.
Companies that are creative and offer convenience, top quality and service
are able to hold their own on the market.”

This is especially apparent among the sailing boats and yachts this year.
Says Michael Schmidt, CEO of Greifswald-based HanseYachts AG: “boot 2009 was
a big success for us. In terms of sales, it was one of the best runs we’ve
had in years – it was a truly excellent fair all round with wonderful
visitors dropping in from the outstanding start through to the very end. Our
expectations were far exceeded.”

Demand for both motor and sailing boats in the middle price bracket of EUR
80,000 to EUR 200,000 was, however, sluggish.

Although trade in large yachts was not as brisk as in previous years, some
leading yards and dealers still reported good sales and plenty of interest
from potential buyers based abroad. Albert Drettmann, head of Bremen-based
yachting agency Drettmann, asserted that once again this year, boot is the
most important event for his company – no ifs or buts. The company sealed
good deals and forged promising new contacts that augur well for strong
post-fair business.

As regards equipment and accessories, the move to greater comfort and
security continues. Demand in this segment closely mirrored last year’s

Boats and yachts remained top of visitors’ agendas. A good two out of three
came to gather information in this segment. Other areas of focus for
visitors were boat equipment, engines and technical accessories (60
percent), water tourism offers, boat and yacht charters and, of course,

Düsseldorf 2010 will open its doors from 23 to 31 January.