Alex Lever

News: 50th International Boat Show of Barcelona

October 27, 2011 by Alex Lever
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This year, the International Boat Show of Barcelona is holding a very special edition to mark its 50th anniversary. One of the star activities is a spectacular race in which around 1,000 sailors and 700 yachts will be participating on the Barcelona coast during the first weekend. The aim of Spain’s most important nautical sports and recreation show is to contribute to energising the commercial activity of the sector which, according to the latest data, continues to be affected by the economic crisis, although there are positive indictors, such as a 30% increase in yacht hire.

The Boat Show, which will take place from the 5th to the 13th of November, will occupy two pavilions in the Gran Via exhibition centre and in Barcelona’s Muelle de Espanya in Port Vell, with 324 national and foreign exhibitors. The on-water show will feature 130 large yachts. It is the biggest nautical sports and recreation exhibition in Spain. Exhibitors will showcase a wide range of accessories, canoes and kayaks, inflatables, jet skis, sail and motor yachts, yachts, charters, tugs and outboard engines, among other products. Marinas and tourist and nautical sports operators will also be present.

“We are aware of the great effort the exhibitors are making to be present in this 50th edition and this demonstrates their confidence in the event, which unfortunately coincides with a very delicate time for this industry due to the crisis”, said Luis Conde, the show’s president. According to the latest data from the Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas, ANEN, yacht registrations dropped 8.78% between January and September this year, confirming the negative trend that started mid 2008.

“We have intensified resources in order for the show to contribute to energising commercial activity and generating business”, explained Jordi Freixas, the show’s director. “Holding 50 shows has to be, in addition to a civic fiesta, a unique time to close sales operations and support the sector”.

Charters, continue to rise
Despite the crisis, enthusiasts still want to sail, which has led to a big increase in yacht hire, with a 30% increase between January and September 2011 over the same period last year. “In Spain, the nautical sector has great growth potential and we must be prepared for when our economy gets going again”, said Alejandro Landaluce, managing director of ANEN.

Barcelona, European nautical capital
For the first time, the show is hosting the Catalan Sailing Week, the 25th edition. The coincidence of these two events will turn Barcelona into the European nautical capital and centre of attention for professionals and enthusiasts, who will be able to enjoy an unusual spectacle: a big race with the participation of some 1,000 national and international sailors, and 700 sailing yachts (16 different classes), which will paint the Barcelona coast white.

With the name “Trofeo Salón Náutico Ciudad de Barcelona – 25 Semana Catalana de Vela Gran Premio Generalitat de Catalunya” (City of Barcelona Boat Show – 25th Catalan Sailing Week Trophy), the race will take place on the 5th and 6th of November in six areas between the Port Forum and Hotel W. In addition to the Boat Show and the Catalan Sailing Federation, numerous companies, nautical organisations and institutions have participated.

Other initiatives being held to celebrate the 50th edition are a concentration of classic Riva yachts, organised in collaboration with the Riva Historic Society; the publication of a book that synthesises the five decades of the show and the sector in Spain; an exhibition on this subject; the issue of a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary; and the coining of a medal, which will complete a unique world collection.

There will also be virtual races, sea initiations, trips in sail yachts for disabled persons, draws for cruises, announcements of races and seminars, tow steering demonstrations, fishing simulators and talks by navigators, among other activities, to make the city vibrate with the show and discover all the possibilities of sailing and the nautical world.

After the success of the last two years, a Village will be set up in Port Vell, under the sponsorship of Codorniu, with a restaurant and terrace-café. The aim is to provide a meeting place for impresarios, sportspersons and guests from the nautical world.

A long run
The Barcelona Boat Show, the first edition of which dates back to 1963, is one of the oldest in Europe, founder member of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO), and an international benchmark event. With the “Creu de Sant Jordi”, the Placa de Oro al Mérito Turístico and the Medalla de Oro al Mérito Deportivo, among other public recognitions, the event still has the main objectives it had when it began: to promote the industry and encourage interest in nautical sports and navigation. Organised by Fira de Barcelona and held annually, the show has the backing of the Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas, ANEN, and of the sector’s leading organisations.

The event will be held in its two venues: Gran Via and Port Vell

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