• Riviera Insider editorial

It was quality over quantity for the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show

The biggest, most luxurious yachting market of the year downsized this year to focus more on owners, prospective clients and industry insiders.

The Monaco Yacht Show 2021: A bird's eye view of Superyacht Club M . Photo: Baglietto © MYS

For the last several years, the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) has been growing and consistently breaking records year after year. Then the pandemic hit and abruptly cancelled the 2020 MYS. The resulting plan for 2021, therefore, was cautious, conservative and led to a few new changes. But would these changes prove worthy? Would the scaling down of the biggest yacht show still be a success?

It turns out that MYS is MYS and whether putting the show on during a pandemic or not, the yachting industry continues to boom. And industry professionals were excited to get together again.

Gaëlle Tallarida, General Director of the MYS was pleased with the outcome: “The 2021 MYS appears to have benefited from the excitement spurred by this reunion, as well as from the favourable state of the market, with an increase in yacht sales over the last 18 months: clients have turned to yachting to escape the gloomy context that the pandemic has brought about and the frustration of having their freedom restricted. Therefore, 2021 has been a win-win for everyone involved in yachting. Thanks to the steering committee founded this year, we intend to pursue our collaboration in order to further improve the MYS for the 2022 edition”.

Attending this year was clear that it was a scaled-down version not only in the number of visitors and exhibitors but also in the number of ships. 440 exhibitors in total, showing boat decor, technology and extravagant water toys; a total of 101 superyachts - clearly less than what you are used to from Europe's largest marketplace for mega yachts. However, they had only originally planned on 300 exhibitors and a maximum of 90 yachts, so they managed to surpass their expectations.

Of the yachts present, half were launched between 2020 and 2021, reaching an estimated total worth of €3.6 billion at the start of the show. Featured yachts included 37 new launches and 14 superyachts measuring over 70m in length. Pas mal.

Targeted visitors

Another big difference this year was the reduced number of visitors. In addition to the travel restrictions, MYS deliberately restricted the attendance by greatly increasing the tickets price (nearly doubling to €500 per ticket) and keeping the first day open to invitation only. The idea behind this was to concentrate the attendees to industry insiders, yacht owners and future buyers – the “quality” over the quantity. Riviera Insider spoke with several exhibitors and there seemed to be a general consensus that the reduced ‘traffic’ was positive, providing more serious visitors as opposed to the ‘tourists’ milling about the aisles and asking empty questions.

According to the show’s yacht builders and brokers, their visiting schedules were full from the very start of the event and potential clients came on board with serious intent to buy. This trend certainly fits in with the current rise in yacht sales.

A spokesperson from Heesen Yachts, whose stand was a large, corner space on a megayacht-lined Quai, told RI that the change was very good for them and sales agents were spending their time with actual potential buyers. Another yacht builder said the higher ticket price prevented industry attendees from bringing the “wife and kids” for a visit. This, she explained, left the aisles clear and gave time to really discuss business.

However, when speaking with exhibitors within the tent, the engineering and internal parts vendors, the reduced traffic was not at all pleasing to them. One vendor described the new format as “total pants”, complaining that there was barely any traffic passing their area.

Perhaps with a focus on owners and buyers, more attention was paid to the final product—to the delight of the builders outside—but to the detriment of the ‘invisible’ parts that make up the amazing ships.

A new sailing yacht area was added for MYS 2021. c. MYS

New for 2021

A few new additions were added this year, most notably the Yacht Design & Innovation Hub, where builders and designers could showcase their work, interact with others in the field and provide a space for mutual learning.

The new Sailing Yacht Area gave a corner of the port a view of masts, a sight not seen in previous editions. It featured 12 large sailing yachts, a representation of the current 15% of the world’s yachting fleet. This space dedicated to sailing yachts targeted a new yachting clientele, showcasing the benefits of a sportier and more environmentally friendly way of sailing, whilst still enjoying the same level of comfort, technology and facilities as onboard motor yachts.

Overall, the new format was a success. Organisers stated: ‘The 2021 edition thus marks a key step in the MYS’s new approach for the coming years: the event aims to offer a tailor-made platform to promote superyachting for a new generation of customers, thus benefitting all sectors across the market.’

Next year should be back to their larger size, however, MYS will continue to be held in a more informal atmosphere, yet catering to a more specific clientele, as opposed to just onlookers.

Next year’s edition is set for 28 September to 1 October 2022.

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