Attendance at the 2015 METS continues to surge. The number of attendees for Wednesday – typically the busiest day – was reported at 9,121 people, up from last year's 8,506 and representing a year-over-year increase of 7.2 percent. With Tuesday's attendance bump (7,390 people, compared to 7,116 in 2014) overall attendance for the world's largest marine equipment trade show was trending a healthy 5.7 percent higher than last year's record level.
With a total of 1,385 exhibitors from 45 different countries also representing a new high water mark, show organizers now face a problem of trying to accommodate a number of additional would-be exhibitors on a waiting list for space. The show's Superyacht Pavilion sold out months before the opening day with no further room to expand, while the Marina and Yard Pavilion has also outgrown its current exhibition hall.
"We're going to have to open up another whole new hall at the Rai to accommodate our growth, and to allow some additional new features at next year's METS,' said Irene Dros, maritime manager, MetsTrade. "We have people on waiting lists and we have several current exhibitors who are looking to expand their existing space. There is some additional space available at the Rai, so we will have to look at how to use that in order to keep everyone happy.'
Among the new features scheduled for next year's METS is the 2016 ICOMIA World Marinas Conference, announced Wednesday afternoon. The companion event will be held in the newly-constructed Atrium building at the Rai, which adjoins the main exhibit halls.
"We work with the MIAs who organize the 18 different country pavilions in order to ensure everyone's needs are met,' says Dros. "Fitting it all together is a bit like a giant jigsaw puzzle.'
Show visitors were still entering through the badge scanners by mid-afternoon on the final Thursday. "I've been attending METS for the past eight years, and I'm impressed with how busy it's been,' said Charlotte Sundquist, director of sales for Bennett Marine. "Even today, which is usually a bit slower being the last day, traffic through the booth has been steady.'
At the Aquatic AV booth, Robert Fils described this year's METS as exceeding expectations. "With everything you hear about the European economy still lagging we didn't expect the level of activity we're seeing,' said Fils. "We're quite surprised, really. There's been a lot of interest from prospective new customers.'