By Craig Ritchie
As the 2016 METS wrapped up Thursday afternoon in Amsterdam, Netherlands, exhibitors and show organizers alike were all smiles as the 2016 edition of the world’s largest marine equipment trade show closed by setting one more record. After already setting new benchmarks for the number of exhibitors, the number of new exhibitors in one year, the amount of floor space and the number of National Pavilions, METS 2016 closed to record attendance, with 23,702 visits. Fully, 64 percent of all visitors came to the show from outside of the Netherlands.
The new record represents an approximate gain of eight percent over the former record of 21,953 visitors, set last year. In fact, METS has set new records for exhibitor numbers each year since 2008 and has set an attendance record each year since 2009. The figure of 15,541 unique visitors was an increase of eight percent on the previous highpoint set in 2015, and those visitors represented 11,091 different companies, a year-on-year rise of 7.5 percent.
Wednesday’s attendance was announced at 9,844 visitors, a gain of about seven percent over the 9,159 visitors recorded for the same day in 2015, while Tuesday’s numbers reflected a nine percent uptick. Although Thursday crowds tend to be the lightest for the three-day show, steady traffic through the Amsterdam RAI Thursday morning propelled this year’s event to another satisfying finish.
“We have worked very hard and been very careful to take care of our core group of exhibitors and show visitors,” said Irene Dros, Maritime Manager for show organizer METSTrade. “But at the same time we have also identified a number of niche markets and made specific efforts to reach out and engage them in order to grow the show overall. Examples would be our Superyacht Pavilion, with 265 exhibitors this year compared to 224 last year. The Marina and Yard Pavilion this year has 64 exhibitors where last year we had 49. The Construction Material Pavilion this year has 45 companies exhibiting, and last year we had 31. These new exhibitors all bring new elements to the show. But just as importantly, they also serve to each attract new visitors to the show as well. So it becomes a cycle that adds value on multiple levels.”
Exhibitors in the Canadian Pavilion appeared happy with the show this year. “The overall traffic today is a bit lighter, but the number of qualified buyers has still been really good,” said Tyler Seebach, Vice President, Sales, for the marine division at Canada Metal (Pacific). “Our new cooperative venture with Dock Edge has definitely generated interest from our existing customers and brought new potential partners to come say hello and see what we have to offer.”
Of all the activity at METS on its final day, long lineups at the desk to rebook exhibit space for 2017 provided clear evidence of the upbeat mood that has permeated the RAI exhibition center this week. Show visitors continued to arrive at the registration desks until late in the afternoon, while exhibitors remained busy demonstrating products right to the final minutes.
The 30th METS will be held from November 14 to 17, 2017, at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, the Netherlands.