Unstoppable METSTRADE Builds on Success
There are a select number of exhibitions and trade shows around the world that take on a life of their own, becoming essential global gathering points for all professionals in their sector. As one of this elite group, the METSTRADE Show transforms the Dutch capital into the world’s central hub for the leisure marine industry for a week in mid-November each year.
Even by its own high standards, however, the 31st edition offered an exceptional amount of business & networking opportunities and social gatherings. A uniquely convivial atmosphere made METSTRADE 2018 an experience to remember for all who came to Amsterdam. “METSTRADE 2018 was especially vibrant as it deployed a tried & tested concept against a background of a thriving leisure marine industry,” says Irene Dros, Maritime Director at RAI Amsterdam. “Exhibitors, visitors and show partners were all pleased with how productive and friendly the event was and the genuine sense of community it provided. As organisers, we were delighted with the response to the new initiatives set up to keep the show fresh. The overall air of enthusiasm was further reflected in the unprecedented number of over 1,100 companies who have already booked to ensure themselves a place at METSTRADE 2019.”
The record number of exhibitors who filled the RAI convention centre were especially satisfied with the diversity of the people they received. An analysis of the show statistics confirms the impression of an event that continues to grow in stature year on year. For the first time this year, METSTRADE welcomed a large group of trade counsellors, representing embassies from 37 different countries. This year saw an considerably increase in the number of visitors from the USA (13% rise on 2017), Italy (8%) and Denmark (5%), as well as those from key upcoming countries in the marine sector, including the UAE (+9%) and Russia (15%). A 5% rise in visitors from the Netherlands was especially welcome, as they mainly represented large companies. The number of country pavilions grew this year to nineteen, with Denmark being a newcomer.
Another noticeable feature at METSTRADE 2018 was the way in which the younger generation seems to be embracing the show, mirroring their greater involvement in the industry as a whole. Many new faces were spotted in the busy METSTRADE Young Professionals Club lounge and YPC events were exceptionally well attended. Facilitating face-to-face encounters is at the heart of everything the organisers try to achieve with the METSTRADE Show says Ms Dros. “In addition to the exhibitor stands, we are constantly developing new features that encourage networking and personal connections. There can be no innovation in an advanced sector like ours without creativity, and phone calls and emails are simply not enough. We generate the right environment for meetings both in the halls, at partner events in RAI Amsterdam and throughout the city, with networking drinks/dinners, knowledge exchange nights, awards evenings and parties. As a result, METSTRADE becomes an indispensable source of creativity for the year ahead.” A fine example of a recent development already paying dividends is the Boat Builder Awards. The event is now in its fourth year and has become an integral part of the METSTRADE week. “The 2018 awards were undoubtedly the biggest and best yet, and a ringing endorsement of all the innovators and ground breakers in our industry,” comments Ed Slack, Editor in Chief IBI & Chair of the Boat Builder Awards Jury. “We salute all the winners and highly commended companies as well as the sponsors that help make this special night happen.”
Now in its second year, the E-nnovationLAB platform showcasing electric & hybrid marine propulsion technology was given an even more prominent position at this year’s show. The response from visitors was excellent, with lots of traffic and well-attended stage events. Another popular area was the Marina & Yard Pavilion, where some 70 exhibitors reported a significant number of new and highly qualified visitors, including many purchasing managers. A similar success story was seen at the SuperYacht Pavilion, which this year expanded to three halls and was supplemented with a dedicated networking & meeting area called the Shipyard. The Construction & Marina Pavilion also validated its ongoing growth with an extended area and some successful roundtable sessions. The fact that most exhibitors from the new area of this pavilion have already applied for METSTRADE 2019 speaks volumes, a trend that helped contribute to a record number of overall rebookings.
Over two thirds of the exhibition space has already been sold for next year’s show, which will take place from 19 to 21 November.