The Italian boating industry plays a central role in promoting the country’s manufacturing capabilities to the world at large. “It’s an area of excellence that bears witness to and conveys our design and our industry abroad,” confirms Minister for Economic Development, Carlo Calenda.

Genoa BOat Show

The organisers are hoping relatively strong sales at last year’s Genoa boat show herald a return to more prosperous times for the sector

There’s no doubt that a sense of pride has returned to the sector after years in the doldrums following the crisis and counter productive measures imposed by the Mario Monti government in 2011. Those dark days that decimated the industry are now a distant memory.

The president of UCINA Confindustria Nautica, Carla Demaria, told IBI: “There has been a recovery and we’re satisfied, and the positive nautical leasing numbers confirm the real, internal growth that we had hoped for and expected.” In other words, the recovery is extending out beyond export growth with signs that domestic buyers are returning to the market. Giovanna Vitelli, vice president of the Azimut Benetti Group, is also relatively optimistic.

“We’re also seeing a market that’s showing signs of recovery. Azimut serves as our barometer of current trends and there is a return to medium sizes. I think the money has always been there, but now there is the confidence to buy. It also seems to have gone back to being a hyper-competitive field. That’s a very positive sign,” she says.

Growing confidence

According to data provided by trade association UCINA, the Italian boating sector has been growing significantly for several years, from its low point in 2009. In 2014 a turnover of $1.47bn for boat construction and refitting was recorded, while accessories were worth $780m and engines accounted for $25m. In 2015 those numbers rose to $1.81bn for construction and refitting, $84m for accessories, whilst engines sales remained on par.

The 2016 estimate shows a 13% increase in total sales. This year, 43% of members expect a 10% increase in turnover, 25% expect growth of between 10-20% and 22% think that their turnover will increase by more than 20%. Only 5% expect a decrease. Altogether, more sales and imports of boats in Italy were confirmed.

Carla Demaria explains: “The recovery in our domestic market has convinced foreign shipbuilders to come back and invest and this will be important over the following months and during the Genoa Boat Show. Last year the decision to hold the boat show in September helped a lot and we have confirmed the dates at the end of the month. This year the conditions are right to have an impressive show. We deserve it because we kept it alive, we invested. We deserve this success.”

Note: This is an excerpt of the country report published in IBI magazine February/March issue. IBI Plus subscribers can download the document in full.