A record 247,000 visitors from 94 countries attended boot Düsseldorf this year – a 2.1% increase over last year’s edition and proof that the German trade show is the biggest event of its kind. Held from January 20-28 in 16 halls at the Messe Düsseldorf exhibition centre, the show attracted 1,923 exhibitors spread over a 220,000sq m area of space.

Messe Düsseldorf CEO Werner Dornscheidt describes these figures as unique. “No other watersports trade fair reflects the entire world market in all its diversity as completely as boot,” he says.

There was an increase in the number of international visitors too. The countries from which most visitors came were the Netherlands, followed by Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and France. Most of the trade visitors from overseas came from the US, China and Australia.

“Our strategy of continuing to internationalise boot has worked,” says show director Petros Michelidakis. “This is apparent now in our visitor structure. There has been as well a generation shift too; the visitors to boot are considerably younger.”

Jürgen Tracht, director of German watersports association BVWW, says the sector is in excellent shape. "boot 2018 confirmed this unequivocally. The trade fair is a driving force behind the industry and will be helping to a very large extent to make sure that the manufacturers will continue to do good business in the coming year," he says.

“The positive development in recent years was repeated by a good season in 2017,” Tracht adds. “The high expectations were fulfilled. The watersports industry is booming.”

The German leisure marine industry is said to be benefitting from the positive overall economic situation throughout Europe. The manufacturers are expecting the stimulus provided by boot Düsseldorf to lead to substantial sales growth in the new-boat segment, where there is a trend towards larger yachts in both the sailing boat and motorboat sectors.

Next year's boot Düsseldorf will be held from January 19-27 and will mark the show's 50th anniversary year.