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boot Düsseldorf is where the world’s water sports enthusiasts converge every January to update themselves with the latest products and technologies, and it’s an increasingly important event for Kiwi export producers.
“If New Zealand marine equipment producers and boatyards have a strategic plan for exporting products to Europe, then the place to be is boot Düsseldorf!”
After introductions, those were the first words from boot Düsseldorf director Petros Michelidakis, when Exporter paid him a visit in early June. 
The 2017 event, which will be held from January 21 to 29, is the first Michelidakis will be in charge of, although he’s been associated with the show for 25 years, and he’s excited about what’s in store for exhibitors and visitors alike.
New Zealand’s marine industry may have been in the doldrums since losing the America’s Cup, but Michelidakis believes it’s time Kiwis rediscovered boot Düsseldorf as one of the world’s premium exhibition opportunities.
You simply can’t ignore the depth and the breadth of the market that is represented by this trade fair, he says. This year’s event saw 1800 exhibitors spread throughout 17 exhibition halls. Visitor numbers were up on 2015, with 247,000 visitors from 52 countries making the journey to the German city – 50,000 of them coming from outside Germany. 
Every water-sport activity is represented at the show, including the latest trend sports such as wake- and skim boarding as well as kitesurfing and traditional surfing, diving, fishing, canoeing, cruising, water tourism, chartering and fishing sectors – all of high interest to Kiwi companies.
Sailing and sailing boats take out the most popular segment of boot, followed by motorboats, then diving equipment and accessories. 
The luxury yacht market is also very well represented, with boats up to 40-metres on display, and new boat builders are making their presence felt. Even Mercedes Benz is now getting in on the act, says Michelidakis.
“What boot offers is completely different to the likes of Fort Lauderdale, Monaco or METS in Amsterdam,” explains Michelidakis. “For example, in terms of B2B visitors, boot attracts many production managers; people who are looking for fittings and accessories to put inside marine craft.”
Production managers want to see what’s new in products and technologies from a wide range of equipment builders, he says. “boot Düsseldorf attracts both high-level consumers and B2B visitors. 25 percent of our visitors have a net income of more than 5000 Euros per month.”
The show is also unique in that it works hard to further develop the boating industry, he adds. “The show covers everything from swimwear to super yachts, and in 2017 the Superyacht conference will move from Hamburg to a new permanent home alongside boot Düsseldorf.”
There will also be a new boat interiors section added to the show next year, he says.
Stronger market
Michelidakis believes the boating market is almost back to the pre-GFC era in terms of growth, and this was reflected in this year’s boot Düsseldorf. “The market is slowly returning, albeit with less companies, but the word from exhibitors and visitors is that things are generally looking much brighter going forward.”
New Zealand companies, either individually or collectively, should be seriously considering investing in their reputation and image in a foreign market, says Michelidakis. “And there is no better place to do that than boot Düsseldorf.”
He’s promising excellent marketing support for any Kiwi exhibitors prepared to make the commitment. “We will spread the news before they come, so they will receive the attention during the show. We know the major effort and investment that’s required to come from the other side of the world, so we will support them as much as we can, to maximise the possibility for success.”
For more information about visiting or exhibiting at Messe Düsseldorf trade fairs contact the New Zealand representative, Robert Laing, at Messe Reps. & Travel. Email [email protected] or visit 
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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