A very good morning to you all on this first day of METSTRADE 2019. After months of hard work behind the scenes, it’s finally show time. And what a show it promises to be with a record number of exhibitors presenting the very latest products and services in the industry we all love.
Over 1,650 companies from at least 55 countries have a stand somewhere in the RAI complex as you read. With pre-registration for visitors also at an all-time high, METSTRADE is set to prove once again that the leisure marine world is first and foremost a people’s business!
Each year we start with a festive official opening ceremony: the METSTRADE Breakfast Briefing, including the DAME winner announcement. The presentation of the METSTRADE Design Awards is a superb showcase for the importance of pioneering new ideas, digitisation and an eco-friendlier approach. The vital role played by family ties in the evolution of many companies is explained by Feadship director Henk de Vries in his Breakfast Briefing keynote speech, which also looks at the best ways to enrich our workforce in today’s crowded jobs market and ensure a sustainable future for all. Henk de Vries is also chair of the Water Revolution Foundation, an initiative that aims to neutralise the footprint of the yachting industry and preserve our precious oceans. This cause is close to the heart of everyone at METSTRADE which is why — as you will see — we’re supporting this worthy initiative in various ways at this week’s event. This is just one of the ways that sustainability, in its widest form, has an integral place here, ranging from panel discussions on the I-nnovationLAB Stage to the striking presentation of biobased and recyclable materials on display in the MaterialDistrict Pop-Up. There is so much on the agenda to excite and inspire, so please do check out the programme of speakers spread across all the different stages and platforms. You can find all full details on METSTRADE website and in the METSTRADE App!
Another factor that fills me with optimism for the future is that we again welcome far more than 200 new participants here to METSTRADE. We had a taste of this at our partner event in Tampa in early October at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX). More than 100 of the 700 exhibitors at this growing North American success story were exhibiting for the first time in a vibrant sign of how our industry continues to evolve and develop. Let me end this welcome word by expressing gratitude to ICOMIA and its members, IBI, SYBAss, the Water Revolution Foundation, MaterialDistrict, NMEA, HISWA, Marina World, GMI and PIANC RecCom, US Soundings Trade Only, The Superyacht Report, Superyacht Times and all those who serve on the expertise panels, jury committees and our advisory boards. The buzz we all feel in the air as METSTRADE gets underway would never be possible without your support.