This year marks the 25th anniversary of METS, the flagship trade show of the international marine leisure industry. In boom years as well as tough times, METS has retained an amazingly high level of loyalty from global visitors and exhibitors, has earned international recognition as the undisputed number one exhibition of its kind, developed a prominent cutting edge award for product design and innovation and became the launch pad for thousands of product innovations. All in all, there’s a large number of good reasons for celebration.
“METS 2012 is set to be a landmark trade event as we celebrate 25 consecutive annual shows,” says METS Senior Product Manager, Irene Dros. “We are particularly proud to have maintained our loyal following over the past few economically troubled years. More than anything this has confirmed how much value thousands of international companies place on METS as a must-attend business platform.”
“Such a resilient group of loyal attendees deserves a festive 25th birthday reward and we are working on special ways to mark this great occasion,” she continues. “We are also always, of course, looking for new initiatives to provide the industry with business and networking opportunities and 2012 will be no exception. We will be announcing our new ideas in the run-up to the show.”
Face to face
In 2011, 98% of exhibitors and 98% of visitors said they would be returning to METS for 2012 and visitors gave the show its highest ever average score of 8.1 out of 10. Tony Rice, Secretary General for METS partner ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations) says that part of this is down to ambience. “We all really enjoy this wonderful family atmosphere – this giant family that comes together once a year in Amsterdam. As we leave on Thursday, at the end of the show, ‘see you at METS’ is a true statement of the importance of this show.”
And, as a product showcase with excellent networking, METS is second to none. “It’s the perfect show for product placement and for emerging trends and innovations – of which there are many every year – but above all it’s perfect for networking,” stresses Theo Lingmont, Director International Exhibitions for Amsterdam RAI. “We believe in face to face contact and that’s what we offer here at Amsterdam RAI. We are incredibly proud of how METS has developed over the years and of the firm business relationships that have been formed in a quarter of a century!”
How it started
METS started back in 1988 with just over 100 exhibitors. 1,331 exhibitors took part in 2011. Nick Hopkinson of media partner IBI News has been behind METS from the beginning. “Over the years, moving from 100 exhibitors to over 1,300 clearly proves we were on the right track from day one really. Not only Amsterdam RAI but the trade associations have put this show on the map.”
As a strictly trade-only event, METS has always operated in close cooperation with industry associations who brought exhibitor groups to METS to create its renowned national pavilions. This was a win-win. “Our national pavilions play an important part in bringing new companies to METS and getting them properly established in this marine sector,” explains Tony Rice.
The UK and the USA established national pavilions for the first METS. Within five years, when METS had grown to 520 exhibitors, there were seven further pavilions for Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Finland, France, the Netherlands and Canada.
By year ten (1997), Germany and Norway had set up pavilions and exhibitors numbered 700 (80% from outside the Netherlands). In 2002, as METS turned 15, the exhibitor level had risen to 830 and Turkey, Australia and New Zealand and Spain boosted the national pavilion level to 15. The 2002 event also saw the establishment of the first specialist equipment pavilion – the Marina Equipment Pavilion. In 2003 the Composite Pavilion was added and, in 2005, the increasingly successful SuperYacht Pavilion, which now has its own dedicated hall and special social networking programme.
Room for growth
As METS grew larger year on year, exhibition space grew tight. In 1994, METS took over an additional RAI hall to accommodate over 600 exhibitors but the biggest change took place in 2005 when METS expanded to include both the Europa complex and the Holland complex at Amsterdam RAI. This gave METS a total of nine halls and an extra 15,000 sq m of space for over 1,100 exhibitors including some from the show’s waiting list.
As well as being the launch pad for thousands of new products, METS has also always sought to encourage product excellence, most notably by introducing the DAME – Design Award METS – in 1991. This has become the world’s most prestigious prize for marine product design and innovation and is intensely competitive, attracting a high level of entries every year.
Assessed by independently appointed judges, products entered for the DAME must be displayed at METS and are featured in the special DAME Pavilion display. The DAME prize is awarded at the annual Breakfast Briefing, which also features a special guest keynote speaker and is the networking event that kick-starts METS before show opening time early Tuesday morning.
As a dedicated trade-only marine event, METS is perfectly positioned to host leisure marine conferences and workshops. Unsurprisingly it has thus been the venue for leading marine conferences such as the HISWA International Yacht Design & Construction Symposium, ICOMIA’s Marine/Technology Conference and the in 2011 introduced Hybrid Conference, marina and composite seminars and, in association with the SuperYacht Pavilion, The Superyacht Report’s Global SuperYacht Forum.
2012 and beyond
The annual growth over 25 years is the result of ongoing consultation with our exhibitors who have the flexibility, diversity and strength to innovate and constantly renew themselves. Organiser Amsterdam RAI aims to do the same, every year. Always on the lookout for solutions that fit the needs of the industry best. The 2012 will feature the next step in networking: matchmaking, knowledge exchange through new means and an expanded programme for young professionals based on the successful try-out in 2011.
METS incorporating the Superyacht Pavilion will be held 13-14-15 November 2012.
- First for products, just for trade
- 1300+ exhibitors from 40+ countries
- Unbeatable networking
- 19,000+ visitors from 100+ countries
- 15 national pavilions
- Marina & Yard Pavilion
- Construction Material Pavilion
- SuperYacht Pavilion
- Design Award METS – the coveted DAME
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