60th Salone Nautico – As it was – Neither miracles nor heroes

60th Salone Nautico – As it was – Neither miracles nor heroes

71.168 visitors and 824 brands are unique figures for a unique year.

It’s not easy to tell how we managed to reach the maximum allowed capacity almost every day, being forced to suspend the entry tickets emission, especially in this period when we are used to hearing about numbers in other respects.

These simple figures are the result of difficult months when the production process of a complex machine such as the Salone Nautico never witnessed any stop despite part of the world did.

On the one hand, being able to combine the timeline needed for the realization with the external events threw all the well-established processes into crisis; on the other side, it has been possible to exploit the lockdown period to deepen themes made necessary due to the events, such as the unavoidable[1]  development of an online B2B platform, the management of the capacity and the tracking of the entries in an area that has nothing to do with a standard fairground, and the decision of a slight shift in date that, in hindsight, has brought not a few advantages (except weather). In the same way it’s been interesting to build in detail the streaming channels such as the 60° Salone Nautico TV and the one on Sole24Ore‘s website.

This double speed among waiting for the events and bustle of developing different possible solutions featured all the event preparation steps, until the end of the exhibition.

Lockdown, home working and resilience have been the trend topic words of the spring months.

But in this atmosphere of uncertainty and news, the goal has been immediately clear: Salone Nautico needed to be organized in order to be safe and effective, few frills and many contents.

In this regard, the communication campaign edited by Meloria, launched by the hashtag #back2boating and ended up with the claim “Never stay still. A lesson learnt from the sea” well snapshots the principles by which the route has been taken.

One Italian Prime Ministerial Act  after another which never took care of the exhibition topic in depth – nowadays still delegated to the final decision of each local authority depending on the circumstances in the settlement period – didn’t give any certainty. As indeed the international situation that was constantly changing for the worse and did not foresee in any other Country the possibility to organize big events until the end of August, wasn’t given clear indications on the way forward.

First of all, the safety: in order to preserve the exhibitors’ investments and invite tens of thousands of people, we needed to address this issue as authentic as possible and so it was.

The protocol developed by the anti-Covid team, headed by the lawyer Lorenzo Cuocolo, has been positively assessed by CTS without any comment.

The effectiveness was then necessary so that all the production chain could confront and comfort about the future. Beyond the business opportunity, the need was to find a physical place where to meet.

Cannes Yachting Festival, Salone Nautico’s direct competitor and largely complement, which usually takes place in early September and kicks off the boat shows season, cancelled eighteen days before its opening, could have been a hard hit.

It, instead, has been turned into possibility, welcoming new requests of exhibitors who had already planned the exhibition and creating a customized format to present new products and boats.

Shortly after, also the Southampton Boat Show, which should have ended ten days before Genova’s one, was cancelled the night before its opening.

Needless to say, the situation was extremely critical for trade shows organizers, but those that could have been sources of dejection turned out to be the engine that aligned the intentions of all those involved: Confindustria Nautica, the trade association that represents the entire supply chain, Regione Liguria and Comune di Genova, which gave their institutional support despite the criticism on the appropriateness of the performance, Italian Trade Agency, which made possible the presence of foreign journalists from 20 countries through the organization of dedicated green corridors, and Simest, which allowed companies to activate financing instruments, including non-repayable ones, in order to attend international exhibitions.

This result, simplified in those numbers, is the fruit of the ability of all those involved to understand that this was neither a race to win nor a mission to accomplish. The conditions were clear: if it could be done it was right to do it. And so it was. This determination and community of purpose is what must not be forgotten and an example for the future.

The team’s pride in having succeeded is another story, personal rather than professional.

Maurizio Grosso

Responsabile Tecnico Commerciale Salone Nautico di Genova

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