Against the backdrop of all the recent happenings surrounding the challenge for Catalan independence, the 2017 Barcelona International Boat Show (BIBS), Spain’s largest boat show, opened today for its five-day run. The 56th edition of the show runs from October 11-15 in the city's Port Vell.

BIBS 2017 has some 275 exhibitors, around 700 yachts and the organisers are expecting the usual number of visitors which is over 50,000 despite all that has been happening in the city over recent days. For 2017 the show has expanded from 2016 in terms of space, exhibitors and the floating exhibition.

In addition to the increased number of boats and yachts, BIBS 2017 is also providing the widest coverage of watersports and pursuits of any Spanish boating event. As part of this it will include in excess of 120 international and national craft debuts as well as an extensive programme of over 100 activities, most notably those related to entrepreneurship, business and the promotion of sailing.

Organised by Fira de Barcelona in collaboration with ANEN (Spanish Association of Nautical Enterprises), BIBS has grown by 11% in terms of net exhibition space compared to the previous edition, with 23,000sq m on the Espanya and La Fusta in Port Vell quays and by 7% in terms of exhibitors, with a total of 275, including the top national and international firms in the sector such as Rodman, Beneteau, Jeanneau, CNB-Lagoon, Marina Estrella, Sunseeker, Touron, Yamaha and Zodiac.

The 700 boats and yachts featured are exhibited across both the dock space and display areas and the floating exhibits have grown in number by 11% compared with last year, reaching a total of more than 180 craft over 8m (27ft). The fleet includes 21 catamarans and some 20 models that have been nominated for the ‘Best European Boat of the Year’ awards.

Luis Conde, president of the Barcelona show, commented: “The event is the undisputed benchmark of the nautical industry in Spain, and has consolidated the positive trend that reflects the recovery of the sector after many years of difficulties due to the economic crisis. Thanks to the confidence and excellent response from our exhibitors, we are holding an event with more space, a bigger offering and more innovations than ever, unquestionably underlining the show's role as an outstanding commercial platform, a forum of opportunities, a mouthpiece for the sector and a great showcase for the latest trends.”