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Coast Guard Foundation LEADERBOARD 2

METSTRADE 2021 responsibly navigates restrictions to deliver face-to-face business success

by Petra IJmker, METSTRADE 23 Nov 02:38 PST 16-18 November 2021
METSTRADE 2021 responsibly navigates restrictions to deliver face-to-face business success © METSTRADE

This year saw the world's largest trade exhibition of marine equipment, materials and systems reinforce its pivotal role as the beating heart of the industry by bringing to Amsterdam 11,936 industry professionals for effective meetings, researching, and networking.

The show simultaneously served its wider audience by launching the METSTRADE Connect virtual platform and METSTRADE TV channel.

The show, held on 16-18 November, assembled a total of 1105 exhibitors from 44 countries covering every facet of marine equipment. This was just 13 per cent down on the originally expected exhibitor total, following the choice of some businesses to withdraw in the immediate days before the doors opened due to pandemic concerns.

Three busy days of METSTRADE at RAI Amsterdam saw 14,065 visits registered by 8,459 unique visitors spanning 63 nationalities, accompanied by 3,477 exhibitor personnel.

Of particular importance to the future of the industry, nearly one-quarter of all visiting professionals were in the 18-35 age bracket. Their presence was once again encouraged and supported through METSTRADE's unique Young Professionals Club with its dedicated lounge, industry meet and greet sessions and show tours. METSTRADE 2021 was widely covered by 106 attending members of the marine press, with other outlets across the world receiving updates from the show's media team.

Precautions enable highly productive resumption of face-to-face activity

METSTRADE's Covid precautionary measures included compulsory vaccination or test checks in a dedicated entry marquee, wide airy corridors on the show floor, controlled refreshment areas and encouragement to wear masks. Attendees welcomed the measures as a pragmatic enabler for the essential resumption of face-to-face business research, networking, and sales pipeline generation. There was a common expression of relief and pleasure to be back.

The one-off show layout spanning eight halls this year encouraged many visitors to explore companies they had not spoken with before. Exhibitors consistently reported good business enquiries from new contacts, combined with a celebratory atmosphere as people met up with those they had not seen for a long time.

The positive mood was neatly summarised by Dometic Marine president, Eric Fetchko, who stated: "I think I can honestly say that in all the years I've been coming to METSTRADE I've never seen business quite like what we saw on Tuesday."

Justin Olesinski, Managing Director of leading motor yacht and super yacht design house, Olesinski, reinforced the importance of getting back to physically meeting up with key contacts and prospective new partners: "Visiting METSTRADE in the still turbulent times of Covid was an anxious decision. However, once there, it demonstrated to me that events can be held safely and confirmed my belief that the face-to-face environment will continue to be an important part of our industry."

For further visitor and exhibitor reaction, please see LinkedIn social media channel.

The show continues 365/24

This year marked the launch of the METSTRADE CONNECT virtual platform, an always on connector and research tool for the global leisure marine industry. The timing of the launch was perfect for those unable to attend the show this year. The platform offers equally valuable opportunities for exhibitors and visitors who are time constrained at the event itself.

METSTRADE CONNECT enables users to browse through exhibitor profiles, see who is joining, start matchmaking, set-up appointments, watch METSTRADE TV and more. Access is freely available to all registered visitors and exhibiting companies. Learn more about METSTRADE Connect here.

Top class content available to all

METSTRADE has a long tradition of hosting excellent seminars and round tables from leading experts in their field. However, the content has not been available for wider access before now. That changed this year with the bold launch of METSTRADE TV, delivered by elite broadcast specialists and hosted by Dutch TV presenter, Pernille La Lau from a purpose-assembled studio on the show floor. The channel delivered nine hours of high-quality live presentations and debates, spanning many key market, technical and environmental issues of the day, featuring top industry leaders and commentators.

See the METSTRADE TV programme here and access the catch up programming via the METSTRADE Connect platform.

Highlighting marine industry progress and enterprise

This year more than 200 marine equipment companies and boat builders entered METSTRADE's flagship competitions - the 30th anniversary edition of the DAME Awards and the seventh annual Boat Builder Awards, co-organised with IBI in association with Raymarine. A total of 11 companies and two marine professionals were named winners in award ceremonies with 25 further companies honoured in runners-up commendations. The results across the spectrum highlighted the tangible improvements being made across the whole marine industry to make boating more sustainable, comfortable, and accessible.

Please see the DAME Awards press release and Boat Builder Awards press release for further information. You can also see DAME Dynamics and Boat Builder Awards special programmes on METSTRADE TV.

A show like no other

Speaking after the show closed Niels Klarenbeek, Maritime Director of METSTRADE, reflected: "METSTRADE can justifiably claim to be a show like no other, given its unique role within the marine industry's calendar. However, the disruptive events of this year took that achievement to a whole new level of significance.

"My team and I are really proud of the way that we were able to deliver a carefully controlled and effective METSTRADE in these unusual Covid-constrained circumstances. I know, from walking the floor and talking to many exhibitors, that plenty of business deals were made and a lot of networking took place.

"Best of all though was to see the thrill that was evident on the faces of exhibitors and visitors, thanks to the facility of being able to meet each other in person again."

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