on 11 Dec 2020
The show site will also be a logistics centre for vaccines in Germany in spring 2021
In an interview with Asia-Pacific Boating, Messe Dusseldorf President and CEO Wolfram Diener and boot Dusseldorf Project Director Petros Michelidakis confirmed their commitment to stage the world’s biggest yacht show in April 17 to 25, despite the continuing surge in Covid-19 cases in Europe.
Diener said that while his crystal ball was no bigger than anyone else’s, he confirmed that he has a close relationship with the government, and that he had been in constant touch with the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs in Berlin on the Covid-19 situation.
“They are all saying the same thing,” Diener said. “All the indications taken together mean that the virus will be under control (by April). Many (show) organisers in Germany are starting to do shows at end of April.”
Diener said that permissions were being given to show organisers to start planning exhibitions in the spring of 2021 on the strength of precautions such as social distancing measures, hygiene and testing facilities and PPE availability, rather than just daily infection rates.
He also noted that Messe Dusseldorf, which is 56% owned by the City of Dusseldorf, capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, had staged an event in September 2020, hosting 100,000 people in relative safety.
Diener said that governments are actually more concerned about the drinking and socialising that takes place off-site from a yacht show exhibition area.
“Our fairground is larger than most mid-sized European cities. Our rules are better than a city’s because we can control things better, such as people flow, gathering sites, etc,” said Diener. He added that Messe Dusseldorf actually has its own police, fire and heath services.
Diener noted that Messe Dusseldorf’s enormous exhibition facilities had been used as a logistics hub for health and hygiene supplies during the Covid outbreak, and would be the logistics and distribution point for vaccines for the entire state of North Rhine Westphalia and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs in Berlin on the Covid-19 situation.
Messe Dusseldorf, site of the boot Dusseldorf yacht show, will double as vaccine logistics hub next April
To underscore the point, Diener noted that Messe Dusseldorf’s enormous exhibition facilities had been used as a logistics hub for health and hygiene supplies during the Covid outbreak, and would be the logistics and distribution point for vaccines for the entire state of North Rhine Westphalia. The vaccines, which must be kept in very cold storage, would likely be on site while Boot Dusseldorf takes place.
Boot Dusseldorf is the largest boat and yacht show on earth, with over 2.5 million square feet (approx. 240,000 square meters) of exhibition space, the show had 1400 boats on display in January 2020, according to Michelidakis, not including tenders and toys, and over 250,000 visitors. In 2019, the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show welcomed over 100,000 visitors. While Boot Dusseldorf is principally an indoor show, there are yachts over 30 metres on display. So far, the biggest yacht every displayed was 42 metres. The 2021 event is due to have the new SX112, a 34-metre yacht from Sanlorenzo, on display.
The resumption of Boot Dusseldorf would be the first major show to take place since the Genoa boat show in October. Mainstays of the European yacht market, such as Cannes, Monaco and Southampton, were all postponed to 2021.
Both Diener and Michelidakis are confident that the show will go ahead despite lingering concerns over travel restrictions. Europe is the main catchment area for the show, but Michelidakis said that 23,000 visitors at the last show were from outside Europe. Michelidakis said exhibitors were keen to have a show to generate leads, after the cancellation of so many shows in 2020.