Representing the world’s largest trade exhibition of equipment, materials and systems for the international marine leisure industry, this year’s METS is set to run in Amsterdam RAI from November 18 to 20, boasting larger SuperYacht and Marina pavilions than ever. Over ninety percent of the exhibition floor has been already booked.
The cautious air of optimism in the global economy will clearly be felt in Amsterdam RAI from 18 to 20 November as the great and the good of the world’s marine sector gather to do business and look forward together.
The worldwide recession has undoubtedly made its mark on the marine industry over the past few years. Political instability and financial uncertainty have had a major effect on consumer spending in an industry perceived as a luxury when times are hard. However, having reached the bottom in mid-2013, a fresh wind has been blowing as the global economy stabilises and starts to grow.
“There are encouraging signs as we see the US maritime market making a recovery and a more upbeat vibe in Europe,” comments Amsterdam RAI’s maritime domain manager Irene Dros. “METS has stood firm throughout the recession, consistently growing in both stature and visitors/exhibitor numbers. Now, as we enter a new phase, METS will continue to be the anchor place of choice for the leisure marine sector worldwide.”
This forecast is well-founded if the latest sales figures for METS 2014 are anything to go by. Some ninety percent of the floor space has already been booked with over five months to go before the event opens its doors. And there will be at least eighteen country pavilions as different nations create their own distinctive area at the show under the auspices of ICOMIA.
The SuperYacht Pavilion – a dedicated hall with associated educational & social networking programmes – will be bigger than ever at METS 2014, with an increase of ten percent in exhibitors to at least 200. “We are also creating a new stand design for this area based upon the specific wishes of participants,” adds Dros. “This will provide for more open spaces and generate a stylish look & feel that reflects the unique nature of the superyacht sector. At the same time we will maintain the uniform look & feel which ensures that attention is mainly focused on products and networking.”
Global marina hub
At its core, the success of METS over the past 27 years can be attributed to the way it has stayed focused on the B2B matter at hand – the construction and maintenance of boats and yachts. The recent addition of the Marina & Yard Pavilion (MYP) proved once again how the METS organisers have their finger on the pulse of the industry they serve. Dedicated to all kinds of equipment for marinas and boatyards, the MYP is becoming increasingly established and growing into a genuine global marina hub. At METS 2014 the pavilion will be the largest to date with more exhibitors already registered at this stage than attended last year’s event.
Giving a face to innovation
Innovation has always been a crucial theme at METS and is mostly named as the number one reason why people come to Amsterdam to visit the show. “Each year METS showcases thousands of innovations and new products yet, due to the large number, not all these premiers get the attention they deserve,” says Dros. “The METS team is currently working on some smart ideas to make the innovations more visible via a variety of channels.”
Another key factor at METS is the demand for networking opportunities. “This year we are going to facilitate even more meetings than before,” continues Dros. “A new ‘online introductions’ concept will be launched, designed to bring people in contact with each other in order to stimulate networking opportunities and make them more accessible. There will also be some new ideas emanating from our long relationship with the Super Yacht Group, including match & meet sessions with exhibitors at the SuperYacht Pavilion.”
Finding new ways to share knowledge and best practice has never been more important in the maritime world. A wide range of global congresses are held each year during METS, including the Global Superyacht Forum. METS is also proving an attractive platform for ‘traveling events’, such as the International Sailing Summit that will take place at METS this year on Monday 17 November.
Meanwhile, the METS brand continues to have an influence far beyond the three days of the main event in Amsterdam RAI. Conferences are organised by the METS business platform called METSTRADE, including the recent ICOMIA World Marinas Conference in Istanbul and the International Superyacht Coatings Conference (ISCC) in Amsterdam (11 and 12 December 2014).