63 years of the Genoa International Boat Show
The Genoa International Boat Show, organised by the Italian Marine Industry Association Confindustria Nautica, is a global event built on the experience of 63 editions, it is the ultimate expression of a unique and vast heritage, capable of combining history, insight, talent, know-how, design, technology, innovation, research, development and business. A reality that perfectly balances past experience with a clear vision of the future, establishing itself as a cutting-edge, effective and impactful event model that has demonstrated its strength and resilience worldwide.
The 63rd Genoa International Boat Show will officially open on 21st September and with it the international leadership of the Italian yachting sector will take centre stage, confirming the reliability and authority of an event that accurately reflects a market enjoying sustained growth. Genoa is the “home” of our country’s yachting sector, due to its history and ancient seafaring culture. Not only has the city always represented the excellence of the industry’s global production, it is also the undisputed driving force behind the development of the entire sector. A point of reference for the sector as a whole encouraging cooperation and growth. An event that every year attracts visitors from many different countries and lights up the city. A place where innovation, design, technology and the Made in Italy brand have come together for over 60 years.
The Genoa International Boat Show is born
The Genoa International Boat Show became a reality on 7th January 1962. An event dedicated to Italian yachting and the only Italian show to be part of the international circuit. In Genoa, back in 1956, the Ente Fiera di Genova was founded, with the mandate to organise “trade fairs related to maritime, river and lake communications, aerial communications and telecommunications”. The first president of the Show was Giuseppe De Andrè, father of industry-defining singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè. He had previously held office as deputy mayor of Genoa before taking on this role. As for the Genoa Boat Show itself, in order to take shape the first step was to build its trademark pavilions.
Construction of Pavilions began in 1959, making rapid progress in time for January 27th 1962, when the 1st edition of the Genoa International Boat Show opened its doors to the world. 430 exhibitors joined the event from 18 countries, of which 254 Italians and 176 from overseas (including brands from the UK, which, at the time, were the global point of reference with its own London Boat Show). The boats were exhibited in the recently built while, in the Darsena, there was only one motoryacht showcased: a 14.50-metre long Giannutri by Cantieri Picchiotti in Viareggio. This was the only boat to actually be displayed outdoors as exhibitors at the time were unwilling to place their units on the water: the reason for this was exhibitors believed their boats would get dirty in the water and appear smaller when viewed from the quay. Instead, perched on their slipways, they appeared comparatively larger. Sailing boats included the Alpa line and its fibreglass hulls, from the small Flying Junior to the Alpa 8; motorboats featured hulls by Italcraft, a shipyard first founded in 1955 and focused on speed; the first RIBs were on display, referred to by some as soft boats, flying the flags of Pirelli, Gamma and Zodiac. However, above all else, this first edition represented a starting point for future events. Since then, the Genoa Boat Show has continued to stand out as a key event for enthusiasts. The second edition, held in 1963, saw the use of two additional Pavilions for exhibitors.
the turning point
1964 marked an important milestone, with the entry of the Genoa Boat Show into the I.F.B.S.O. (International Federation of Boat Show Organisers). However, 1966 marked the true turning point: the Boat Show passed under the aegis of UCINA Confindustria Nautica, the non-profit national association that represented the industries and businesses across the yachting sector. In addition, a successful partnership was established with the Düsseldorf Boot event. From this moment on, the Genoa International Boat Show became an essential hub for business development and promoting international relations throughout the industry. The event sees the inclusion of roundtables, conferences, sports presentations and glamorous events, asserting itself as a “Blue carpet” occasion that every year unites the yachting world and everything around it.
The Genoa International Boat Show expands
In the 1980s, the Genoa Boat Show continued to grow as it gained new display spaces on the sea and only accelerated in the following decade.
The crisis that recently struck the Italian economy, and with it the yachting sector, the roots of which go beyond that of 2008, required an even greater level of commitment, which UCINA Confindustria Nautica was quick to provide, managing to steer the Genoa Boat Show successfully through the economic storm. The idea of relaunching the industry became a shining beacon that lit the way for all the hard work and resources put in place, never losing sight of the objective to create recovery and growth.
In 2014 the Genoa International Boat Show became the most popular show on the Mediterranean, with over 100,000 visitors and more than 750 exhibitors. The involvement of the press was significant and effective, with approximately 1,500 journalists from all over the world.
For five consecutive years, the yachting sector, the flagship industry of the Made in Italy brand, saw nothing but double-digit growth.
2018 marked the first official visit of a President of the Italian Republic to the Genoa Boat Show, with the presence of President Sergio Mattarella.
The only industry event in Europe to take place in person during the year of the pandemic
In 2020, during the complex context of the Covid-19 healthcare emergency, the 60th Genoa International Boat Show, organised by the Italian Marine Industry Association, represented a truly unique Show as it was the only event in Europe to take place in person, thanks to an innovative organisational approach that favoured effectiveness and quality of contacts for exhibitors, recording a strong presence of a qualified and business-oriented audience of visitors. A shining example of safety and organisation, the event was the natural outcome of supporting companies in a sector suffering its most critical moment on a global scale. This inspired the economy’s recovery and turned the world’s spotlight on the event and on the city of Genoa.
2020 was an interesting Summer, with a large number of Italians discovered the joys of yachting. This led to a positive season for the industry: in the context of the healthcare emergency, a yachting holiday was rightly perceived as a safer option: no public gatherings and perfect for social distancing. This affected all market segments. And so the 60th Genoa International Boat Show represented a strategic moment for the consolidation of these results. It allowed the public to enjoy a full display of what the international industry had to offer and allowed exhibitors to measure and satisfy market demand. The following year, the 61st Genoa Boat Show was the industry’s point of reference, as stated in its successful communication campaign.
Stepping into the future
The event’s 62nd edition underlined the first real changes to the layout, marking a decisive step forward in the Show’s journey towards the future.
Here are a few key figures that summarise the Genoa Boat Show’s history since 1962.
The 30,000 square metres of the exhibition area used by the very first Genoa International Boat Show and the 430 exhibitors who took part are now dwarfed by the current exhibition area of over 200,000 square metres on both land and water and the presence, during the 62nd edition held in 2022, of 1,000 boats and almost 1,000 brands on display. And the event is still evolving, always focused on a future that is just around the corner: construction work for the brand new Eastern Waterfront, designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, will bring about, as early as in 2023 and definitively by 2024, the formation of a vast and innovative Genoa International Boat Show, featuring a breath-taking layout that will be as functional as it will be spectacular, allowing for another 150 berths, accessible channels, new quays and a completely redeveloped indoor sports arena, larger world-class display spaces and a renewed, even broader range of services.
Figures that come together to trace a path, one that has not always been easy, that defines the 63 editions that make up the Genoa International Boat Show, with an eye to the future and ever more focused on making Genoa the capital of yachting and its excellence.