Boats and Italian Wine at the Genoa Boat Show

The capital of the region of Leguria, Genoa has long been one of the most important ports in all of the Mediterranean. For centuries, the gorgeous city acted as a hub for merchants from all over Europe, in addition to being a key port for transporting Italian wines to far flung regions beyond their country of origin.

The point we’re making here is that boating and Genoa have always been inexorably linked. The city would not be what it is today without its rich maritime history and the people who live in Genoa understand this all too well.

That’s why Italy’s most famous boat show is held in Genoa every year.

Genoa’s boat show has been held for since the early 1960s and it represents a chance for sailors and boating enthusiasts to get together, appreciate some fine sea-faring craft, and indulge in the Italian wine, food, and culture that Genoa, and Italy as a whole, have always been known for.

This Year’s Festival

As you can imagine, the pandemic placed this year’s Genoa Boat Show in doubt. With so many organisations feeling worried about bringing people together during these uncertain times, there was some debate about whether the show should go ahead at all. Add into that the limited opportunities for tourists and the potential for local and national lockdowns to occur at any time and it would have been understandable if the organisers chose to cancel this year’s show and focus on the next one, whenever that may be.

But that isn’t what happened.

Between October 1st and October 6th, the Genoa Boat Show went ahead as planned and was a truly wonderful event.

What made the event even more remarkable is that so many similar events have been cancelled over the course of this year. The show received the go-ahead, as long as all relevant safety measures were adhered to.

As such, it was a welcome event for those who had been forced to miss out on Europe’s other famous boating and yachting festivals, with those stung by the cancellation of the Southampton Boat Show and Monaco Yacht Show at least having this opportunity to indulge in their great passion. 

And indulge they did!

The event, which was held over six days, enjoyed sell-out crowds for the majority of those days. Enthusiasts from all over the world braved the post-pandemic world to show their support and enjoy the many exhibits on display. All told, 824 exhibitors attended the event, many of whom displayed the latest and greatest in boating technology and ideas. Over the course of the six days, 71,168 visitors had the opportunity to check out these exhibits, which makes the event a huge success.

The Health and Safety Precautions

Of course, the world that we live in now requires such events to take fairly drastic measures in terms of health and safety procedures. Working in close compliance with both the Italian Technical Scientific Committee and the World Health Organisation, the event placed numerous safety measures in place, which included:

  • The use of multiple entrances to prevent overcrowding.
  • The creation of “green routes”, which allowed for easier management of the crowds.
  • A set of automated turnstiles, which again helped to keep people distanced as they filtered into the event.
  • The use of thermo-scanners to check for signs of fever in participants.

It also helped that the event takes place outdoors and had a 200,000sqm space to operate in. Again, this allowed for plenty of spacing between participants and attendees, minimising the threat of coronavirus transmission in the process.

The show’s organisers, I Salone Nautici, were particularly proud of the measures that it put in place, as it released the following statement:

“As the only boat show able to take place in Europe during the Covid-19 crisis, the event has become another shining symbol of Italy’s sense of social responsibility, determination, conviction and know-how in these complicated times.”

The Show Itself

So, what made the event such a hit with those who attended?

For the exhibitors, the Genoa Boat Show presented plenty of sales opportunities, as the executive chairman of boat manufacturing company San Lorenzo was quick to point out. Massimo Perotti said:

“The show was well organised: we’ve seen a lot of visitors interested in purchasing a boat, meaning there was a high percentage of buyers this year, both Italian and from abroad. In total we sold five models, two from Bluegame and three from Sanlorenzo, to three Italians and two foreign buyers, a good mix.”

But for spectators, the biggest attractions were the boats themselves. Amongst those on display were the first Benetti 40M Oasis Rebeca, which was one of the largest boats seen at the event. Sanlorenzo were no slouches either, as they exhibited their SX88 model, which is the flagship boat of its famed crossover series.

And of course, the boats weren’t the only attractions on offer.

In what we could call a festival of boating, it stands to reason that there was plenty of amazing Italian wine and food on offer.

But perhaps the event’s biggest achievement is the fact that it happened at all. The Genoa Boat Show brought a feeling of normality that so few in the boating community have been able to feel over the course of the last year. And while the event may not have reached the dizzying heights that we’re sure it would have without the pandemic issue in play, it was still a remarkable series of days.

The Final Word

We believe that the 2020 Genoa Boat Show stands as a true testament to human ingenuity in the face of adverse conditions. 

The organisers did a spectacular job of ensuring the event was safe for all involved while still providing exhibits that made it worth the time and money spent by attendees. And it’s likely that other boat shows will be able to use this event as the model for what they should do in the future, for as long as the coronavirus threat looms.


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