The Director of the Cannes Yachting Festival talks to DN: “This show is dedicated to the dolce vita, with a lot of Italy”

We interviewed Sylvie Ernoult, director of the Cannes Yachting Festival, who presents us with the 2023 edition, new trends and early statistics

26 June 2023 | by Redazione
Sylvie Ernoult, director of the Cannes Yachting Festival

The Cannes Yachting Festival is only a couple months away – the largest show in the Cote d’Azur and official opener of the autumn boat show season, which, just a few kilometres from each other, includes the Genoa Boat Show and the Monaco Yacht Show.

We interviewed Sylvie Ernoult, director of the Cannes Yachting Festival, who talked to us about the latest trends and shared some of the early statistics for this glamorous show, centred around the dolce vita, and with a lot of Italian exhibitors. The 2023 iteration will take place from 12 to 17 September.

Director, how is the organisation of the 2023 iteration of the Cannes Yachting Festival proceeding?

The organisation of the 2023 Festival is going well and moving forward as planned.  The sales and technical teams are all hands on deck trying to sell the last available spaces and finalise the trade fair layout.  We still have just under three months to go before the trade fair opens and we already have a very good overview of the final result.  We’re confident of the quality of the upcoming edition, both in terms of the content displayed by the exhibitors and the facilities we’re going to put in place.

Can you share some estimates on numbers for the next edition?

Everything’s looking really promising and we’ll be hosting an equivalent number of exhibitors and boats to those of last year or even slightly more, but it’s still too early to share the official figures with you!  2022 was an exceptional year, with over 54,000 visitors from all over the world, more than 600 exhibitors and 650 boats, including 545 in-water. It will be difficult to do better in 2023, as we have limited space.

Space in both ports is already at capacity. However, we are determined to provide our customers with an ever-higher quality of service and welcome, and to maintain our offer of an exceptional and eclectic range of products and services for visitors.

Every year you add something new.  What will it be this year?

As the show’s DNA centres on offering boats of all sizes and meeting the growing demand of our exhibitors, we are proud to be inaugurating a brand-new marina in the Vieux Port dedicated to small motorboats between 8 and 11 m.  This “small boat area” will be next to the RIB Area and will feature around fifty boats. The demand from our visitors for small boats has increased, so it was only natural for us to offer a space worthy of the name to this category of boats.

The Innovation Area is being renamed the “Start-up Village”. It is still built in partnership with Mer Angels and BNP Paribas Banque Privée and based in Port Canto.  We have made the decision to change the name of this village for two reasons: one, because it’s exclusively for innovative and intelligent start-ups in the nautical sector. The village features breakthrough technologies or high added-value services.

Second, because innovation can be found throughout the fair, not just in this area.  Many of our exhibitors present innovative boats, products or services!

For the third year running, exhibitors can apply to be part of the “Green Route“: a guided tour that highlights the high-eco-performance solutions developed to reduce the nautical industry’s environmental impact on the sea and marine ecosystems and, as such, raise awareness among visitors.

In what sector have you seen an increased number of participants?

Over the years, we have seen an increase in the RIB Area, the Sailing Area (making us the world’s number one show for new boats over 10 m long) and now the small boats area.

What is the relationship like between the Cannes Yachting Festival and the city of Cannes? 

We work hand in hand with the city and all local authorities.  Such a partnership is essential in order to produce a show like the Cannes Yachting Festival. Many local players are involved in our work, including the safety commission, the port authorities, the venue manager (SEMEC for the Palais des Festivals, MVPC for the Vieux Port and the City of Cannes for Port Canto) and a lot of technical experts The show team meets all of them three days a month to present, discuss and approve the layouts of the coming show and its different plans.

What is the typical visitor to the Cannes Yachting Festival like?

According to our visitor survey, the profile is “male, between 41 and 60, business leader/executive, interested in both new boats and equipment”.  But we also have younger people and those with more modest incomes visiting the show. The profile we are looking for is buyers for our exhibitors.  To target those profiles, we have an international advertising campaign not only in the nautical media but also in exclusive lifestyle and business magazines and websites.

The Cannes Yachting Festival is recognised as a show where many sales are made, so we are confident about the decision we have made in terms of advertising!

Let’s try and create a map of the show: what countries do visitors come from? 

Historically, we had 1/3 French exhibitors, 1/3 Italian and 1/3 international.  Since Covid, this has changed to 60% domestic visitors and 40% international in 2021 and to 50% domestic and 50% international in 2022, half of whom were Italian!

Italian is also the top nationality among our exhibitors!  When visiting the show, you can really feel the dolce vita, especially when you walk along the Jetée, the Super Yachts Extension and the RIB Area!



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