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Palma Superyacht Show attracts global buyers

Events Business

As the International Boat Show Palma draws to a close today, SuperYacht Times’ Merijn de Waard interviews Arne Ploch of Camper & Nicholsons International and one of the organisers of the Palma Superyacht Show. Arne talks about the how the show has changed in recent years, as well as reflects upon the possibilities for future development following the early sold out status of the event.

SYT: What has changed in Palma this year in comparison to last year?

Arne: We continued with the same concept and we increased the number of berths - last year we had 54 yachts, this year we have 62. We also have a little bit more life this year with the inclusion of Marc Fosh organising the restaurant in our area - he just got a Michelin star. Otherwise we have continued with the same concept; a Show made by the industry for the industry.

SYT: I have been here now for two days, and I get the feeling that there are quite a few clients and people who are seriously looking at sailing yachts, as in every size range you pretty much have a few different options.

Arne: Absolutely. It is the sailing yacht show, and I can’t think of any other show where you can find this amount of large sailing yachts. In this size range between 80 to 120 foot, you have a selection which is incredible. You can show a client eight yachts which would fit into what he is looking for, and that is amazing. We are a bit short this year on motor yachts, with more sailing yachts than motor yachts, but our aim is to have it 50/50.

SYT: So the aim is not to get as many sailing yachts as possible here?

Arne: Palma will always be a sailing yacht base and we will always attract more sailing yachts, but the show as such would like to have 50/50 motor and sailing.

SYT: The show is pretty full at the moment. Is there room for expansion?

Arne: We’re working on it. It’s very difficult and complex as all the show area belongs to different concessions, with STP shipyard on one side, there is the new Port Vell Marina, two differently managed charter quays and the fishing boat area, all joined together for this event. There is room, but we move slowly, maybe a few more berth for next year and so on. It sold out really early this year - by January we were already fully booked. Then we started with the waiting list, you get cancellations, yachts do not make it on time from the Caribbean, but yes, it’s fully sold out.

SYT: In terms of the size of the boats, are you looking at trying to get bigger yachts here?

Arne: I think we attract boats that are based in Palma, and Palma is not a base for 60+ metre yachts. Our market here is 80 foot up to 50 metres. We wouldn’t mind if we had some more larger yachts as well, and once we reorganise the area further inside the show, we will get bigger yachts inside the STP area in the 40 metre plus range, and the smaller yachts further in.

SYT: In terms of clients and buyers visiting the Show, is there a large German population as well?

Arne: It’s quite interesting, because in the first years of the Show we got a lot of local people which were predominantly the Germans, the English and the Scandinavians who have houses on the island. Now people are coming from quite far away; some South Americans are flying in, Russians - we have all sorts of people that are specifically coming for the Show. Yesterday I saw a Saudi client. He was in Europe, saw there was a boat show and he came over to Palma. So I think we have been getting the message out there, and are getting now clients from further away. I’m very positively surprised.

By Gemma Fottles, Interview by Merijn de Waard

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