Genoa Boat Show


22 September 2023


The 63rd Genoa International Boat Show officially kicked off today, 21st September, with an impressive opening ceremony that started with the Italian national anthem and the traditional flag-hoisting ceremony. The 63rd Genoa International Boat Show is organised by Confindustria Nautica, the Italian Marine Industry Association which represents the entire Italian yachting sector, and by its associate company I Saloni Nautici.

An exceptional and unprecedented institutional presence attended today’s opening ceremony, which took place on the main terrace of the Boat Show’s Blue Pavilion. The Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, the President of the General Confederation of Italian Industries, Carlo Bonomi, and the President of the Italian Marine Industry Association, Saverio Cecchi, alongside the local authorities welcomed government ministers and key industry guests. The 63rd edition of the Boat Show began with opening speeches by Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Infrastructures, Matteo Salvini, Minister for Business and Made in Italy Production, Adolfo Urso (via video connection), Minister for Defence, Guido Crosetto (via a video message), Minister for Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister for Sea Policies, Nello Musumeci, President of the General Confederation of Italian Industries, Carlo Bonomi, and ENI President, Giuseppe Zafarana.

The opening ceremony was saluted by the spectacular passage of the Nave Caio Duilio, a Navy destroyer, as it paraded along the port’s canal.

Immediately after the ceremony, journalist and RAI TV presenter and anchorwoman Monica Maggioni, in front of a large audience of illustrious guests, authorities, institutions and international journalists, moderated the inaugural conference entitled ‘Yachting Industry, the history behind the future’.

The microphone was then passed to Carlo Bonomi, President of the General Confederation of Italian Industries: “Every year the Genoa International Boat Show never ceases to amaze. Excellent results for a sector that, unlike others that are slowing down, is doing exceedingly well. Because yachting knows how to combine beauty, emotion, and design. And this is thanks to the strong tenacity of the entrepreneurs across the industry. In 2020, when the whole world was closed down because of the pandemic, the Genoa Boat Show was open. Italian entrepreneurs amaze the world, I am proud to represent them”.

Good wishes for the Boat Show’s inauguration came via a video-message from Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, who reiterated some important data achieved by the yachting industry and expressed the Government’s willingness to support businesses: “There are more than a thousand boats on display, numbers that describe the success of a path built with attention to the smallest detail, resulting from passion and a strong will to grow. These are numbers that point to the future of a sector that invoices 7 billion euros a year, and which is becoming more and more committed every year. With the Italian Sea Plan, this government intends to make the most of previous skills that are unique in that they are embedded in the entrepreneurial and social fabric of the country”.

The roundtable then split into two panels: the first dedicated to the ‘Economic, social, and environmental challenges of our times’, and featured Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Giuseppe Zafarana, ENI Chairman, and Saverio Cecchi, President of the Italian Marine Industry Association; the second was devoted to ‘The Made in Italy Industry, where global projections meet local development’, with speeches by Antonio Natale, Commander of the Italian Navy Schools, Nicola Carlone, Commander General of the Harbour Offices, Nello Musumeci, Minister for Marine Policies, and Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister for Agriculture, Adolfo Urso, Minister for Made in Italy Business (via video conncetion), Edoardo Rixi, Deputy Minister for Infrastructures and Transport. Matteo Zoppas, President of the Italian Trade Agency. The Liguria Region President, Giovanni Toti, closed the event.

A roundtable that highlighted the value of the yachting industry for the Italian economy and its potential driving effect, which the Government pledged to fully support by also speeding up bureaucracy in the approval of laws and codes.

Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructures and Transport: “The biggest applause goes to the over one thousand exhibitors who have never given up in these difficult years. This sector more than others is about innovation, new technologies, and reducing emissions. The Italian entrepreneur is devoted to environmental sustainability, which must go hand in hand with economic and social sustainability. We must help those who produce wealth and beauty. Inaugurating an evolving exhibition such as this today is the sign of a city growing, located in the extraordinary region that is Liguria

“On the nautical regulatory framework, we are in the last steps, the Council of State and then the Official Gazette,” continued the Minister. ‘The ports reform is being worked on, while the reform concerning port concessions may have taken a step forward. There is also the issue of marinas that is still waiting for answers. But no code at sea or on the road can impose common sense and respect for rules by law, so the operation that Minister Valditara is carrying out in bringing civic education to school desks is of fundamental importance. A special thanks goes to the women and men of the Italian Coast Guard who risk their lives to save others.”

Giuseppe Zafarana, ENI Chairman: “The 63rd Genoa International Boat Show celebrates a sector of our industry that in 2022 has achieved extraordinary results: record exports, record turnover, record employment, record membership in the Italian Marine Industry Association, and a record in the production of luxury yachts. ENI as an energy company has set itself the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050 and must do so through a gradual process that will also involve products and services offered to our customers. Our strategic vision sees a number of key hubs in the yachting sector. In the maritime sector we already have an initial solution that is immediately operational: this one of ENI top innovations, HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) obtained from the waste of unusable crops and harvests. In the future there will be hydrogen, methanol and e-fuels. And ENI will accompany the maritime sector and yachting industry throughout this journey’.

Saverio Cecchi, Chairman of the Italian Marine Industry Association: “I would use the word ‘heroes’ to describe the entrepreneurs and managers who decide to do and do business in Italy. I agree with Carlo Bonomi that an anti-enterprise culture is still ingrained in our country. Today we are one of the true Made in Italy excellences. In 2022 we exceeded 7 billion in turnover. And we have achieved another record: we are the top exporter in the world for our sector, accounting for 88% of production. For the sliding year ending in June 2023, the yachting industry reached an all-time high in exports with 3.74 billion euros. And now we come to the institutions. Today we have had an extraordinary participation from the Government, now we need their attention and then action. We cannot wait three years to have an implementing regulatory framework for the code approved in 2020, which is the instrument that allows us to work, because 14 opinions from as many ministries are needed. For regulatory processes we need some sort of conference of ministries, with silent consent replacing just any opinion’.

Nello Musumeci, Minister for Marine Policies: “Today Genoa becomes the capital of the world, at least for yachting. We can proudly and without exaggerating, say that Italy commands a world leadership in such an important sector. Among the 8 sectors that make up the marine economy, yachting is the one that is growing the fastest. Thanks to the entrepreneurs who never gave up, not even in the two terrible years of the pandemic. Politics is a lay priesthood driven by passion. I believe that entrepreneurship should also be fuelled by its passion. As a government we should thank the entrepreneurs who have faced a thousand difficulties. We have taken first place, but that does not mean we can slow down. We as a government want to listen to the businesses that are asking not for miracles but simply to be heard. We are ready to support all the supply chains that operate across the maritime economy and take the fight to our worst enemy: the bureaucracy that forces exhausting waits. In this sense I feel utterly committed’.

Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture: ‘Italy is beauty, it is quality, it is the ability to be perceived, and it is something easy to export. Genoa is an example of the desire for discovery. It was here that Columbus set off and charted so many fundamental routes. The yachting industry is a strong focal point for combining other elements of our economy, because Italy acts as a system and must continue to do so, a system in which everyone plays their part in an overall crew. Support for businesses is decisive for the redistribution of wealth. The only working recipe is to invest in business development and labour. This is what the government is banking on. Italy is increasingly competitive and a strong voice on the international stage.  If we do not invest in ports and marinas, we will likely lose the competitiveness we have earned. In fishing, Italy has already lost its competitiveness over the years, this is another segment in which we need to invest, understanding which production chains are connected and need relaunching. For me, as for many of my fellow speakers, the sea should unite, not divide.”

 Adolfo Urso, Minister for Made in Italy Business (via video connection): “The Genoa International Boat Show is a symbol of the Italian economy being relaunched. The Government has bet on the sea by setting up a Ministry for Marine Policies, which will pave the way for an even more important role for the marine economy as a whole in the political and economic institutional landscape of the country, with a unique coordinated system put in place by Musumeci from the very beginning. The yachting industry is the emblem of Made in Italy production and the marine economy. But today we can do more and we can do better, it is important to enable our companies to produce more and to produce better and conquer larger segments of the global market. The ministry has more significant programmes in place in view of developing the maritime economy. This is why we have established the Made in Italy High School in our Made in Italy bill, an initiative that we hope will help train the next generations for strategic supply chains. The government is aware that the yachting industry represents the future; the sustainability of companies in the digital and green transition is of fundamental importance. We are investing heavily in this: of the approximately 16 billion euros that Minister Fitto has managed to redeploy, almost 8 billion will be allocated to our department and will be directed towards the Italian business system to support them in the digital and green transition. Together we will chart a favourable course”.

Edoardo Rixi, Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Transport: “I believe that there must be more and more osmosis between the public and private sectors. They cannot be two worlds separated by different rules and visions. We have to work together all year round. We have started by restructuring the ministry, which will be implemented in the coming months, when we will spin off the current directorate general that deals with ports and navigation, into two directorates general, one for navigation and one for ports, in order to carry out all the reforms of the sector’s codes and speed up the approval procedures. Any complications need to be eliminated. We must aim to be a world leader, to do this we cannot sit back and wait for results. I hope that the Government will make an overall reflection on how the regulations in the bureaucratic procedures should be perfected, to avoid bottlenecks before and months after policies are published in the Gazette. The yachting industry is a sector that we want to represent the exceptional know-how that is typical of Made in Italy businesses”.

Matteo Zoppas, President of the Italian Trade Agency: “The most positive message is that despite three difficult years, Italian entrepreneurs have been able to continue exporting in 2022 with an increasingly positive trend compared to previous years: a result achieved by true heroes in their resilience. The yachting industry continues to charge ahead as of June: we have already outperformed the previous year by 20%. Compared to 2019, 2022 closed with a +47% increase. This is a sector that is pulling a lot. But numbers only count for so much. What we export is not quantity, but quality. What is appreciated abroad is the Made in Italy brand. We are an icon of beauty and well-made products. In this, the Italian Trade Agency provides a significant contribution to the sector and to the Boat Show. What we do at the Genoa International Boat Show is to bring buyers for small and medium enterprises, we provide a contribution to the important trade event organisers so that they may improve their promotion and communication campaigns for Made in Italy production. And we push new realities that want to grow; in this case specifically we bring 10 start-ups to showcase their products. Next edition we will be here in even greater force. 

Antonio Natale, Commander of the Italian Navy Schools: “It is no coincidence that this great event is being held in Genoa, a centre with a maritime vocation that can be felt in every corner of the city itself. At the beginning of this summer, the Vespucci ship departed from here as a representative of the Made in Italy brand across the world, and in two years’ time it will land in 31 ports, 28 countries on 5 continents. The Blue economy requires constant attention and investment in terms of sustainable development. The Navy has always been attentive to maritime resources. In Trieste, Minister Musumeci launched the proposal to include the Sea in our Constitution”.

Nicola Carlone, Commander General of the Italian Harbour Offices: ” the Italian Marine Industry Association is the only body that issues a construction declaration for boats, avoiding risks of fraud. Together we are doing what needs to be done to move towards the digital and ecological transition and towards bureaucratisation. We have opened the era of green boating. The yachting world counts 600,000 vessels. We are over 97 out of 106 harbourmasters’ offices, we represent over 85% of registered units”.

Giovanni Toti, President of the Liguria Regional Council: “Today we are inaugurating the most important Boat Show in the world, in a location that will be made for it, designed by Renzo Piano. The fact that the yachting sector is now driving the Italian economy, with a significant growth forecast, proves just how much of a winning choice it was to firmly believe in this sector, and it is no coincidence that our region is also growing in terms of employment more so than in the rest of Italy. Liguria is, in fact, the yachting industry itself: the largest manufacturers are here, the best integration between tourism and yachting is in our region, and therefore,” he concluded, “to talk about Liguria means to talk about the yachting sector as a whole”. The Regional Governor was joined by Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, who stated: “The Waterfront extension is a great step forward. Next year the most important parts of the redevelopment project are scheduled to be completed. The location will be an even newer, larger, more important Boat Show than ever before. I would like to thank the Italian Marine Industry Association, which has given us the opportunity to do all of this, proving that when you work for the same goal, you can achieve the unimaginable. The results achieved will give a new economic and employment boost to the city itself. The boating industry is booming, as is the city. Fair winds, everyone!”