Deec 2021 | Jan 2022
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>> Being trapped in a Covid loop compounds the sense of life’s freedome being all too fragile
In the Spring of 2021, I – like many – imagined the end of the pandemic was in sight; that the autumn boat shows in Europe and the US at least would herald a return to something resembling business as usual for our industry. Nine months on and there’s an unnerving sense of déjà vu as we enter another year with the shadow of Covid still very much over us.
As we went to press, organisers of the Düsseldorf boat show proclaimed the show would go on in January, but as we’ve learned all too well, fortitude and the best laid plans can come to nought in the face of spiking Covid case loads and political decree.
Small mercy, the industry is learning to adapt. Organisers RAI battled valiantly to deliver a successful METSTRADE just days after Dutch authorities announced new Covid restrictions – and one would put money on Messe Düsseldorf rising to a similar challenge, given the importance of the show and general industry will for it to go ahead.
Despite such uncertainty, coupled with the daily headaches surrounding supply chains, we have booming demand pushing order books into 2023, and legions of younger consumers getting into boating.
“One would put money on Messe Düsseldorf rising to a similar challenge, given the importance of the show and general industry will for it to go ahead.”
It all adds up to create what Ferretti Group CEO, Alberto Galassi, recently referred to as an “unreal” sense to the marketplace. Speaking at the International Superyacht Summit in Dubai in December, Galassi admitted boating had been one of the “lucky” industries, able to capitalise on that new desire for escape and a wider consumer base with cash to spend. The big question is, can that luck hold?
Back in the spring, talking to builders, many quietly acknowledged that some that had jumped in and bought boats in early 2020 would be ready to offload their impulse acquisition as normality returned. There will be an element of buyer’s remorse, inevitably. However, there’s considerable evidence too of new boaters doubling down – far from bailing, they are looking to upgrade their boating experience.
Supply chain woes, freight costs, recruiting the right staff… they are challenges that are not unique to our sector. As with the boat show upheaval, we’ll adapt.
Being trapped in a Covid loop compounds the sense of life’s freedoms being all too fragile. Will our luck hold? If we make the most of it, then the prospects are encouraging.
Ed Slack | IBI Editor
Don’t miss the video embedded throughout the magazine as well as the METSTRADE 2021 Catalogue published and distributed by IBI with this issue.
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