Boating in a Portrait | Alessandro Campagna “Love for the sea has become a profession and gifts extraordinary stories”

Alessandro Campagna, sales manager for the Genoa Boat Show, shares how he discovered boating, the ties between Genoa and its Show and his relationship with the sea

Alessandro Campagna, born in Padua on 9 November 1974. He is currently the sales manager for the Genoa Boat Show and develops promotional activities for Confindustria Nautica, the union that represents the entire pleasure boating industry, of which he has been a part since 2006.

A graduate from the University of Padua with a thesis on the development opportunities of the trade show model, he grew in his career managing Consumer and Trade events, both in organisational committees, as well as working with  Fiera di Modena, Fiera di Ferrara, and Fiera di Vicenza.

Mr Campagna, the Genoa Boat Show is a constant satisfaction. An event which is increasingly becoming a point of reference for the entire boating industry, and for years has had the highest number of visitors in the Mediterranean and which, in 2018, further increased the number of exhibitors and visitors. What would you still like to do so that the Boat Show continues to improve?

The  Boat Show is a brand with a very high value and this is demonstrated through its 59 editions. There are not as many events who have blown out so many candles. It is a strong event because it is the reflection of an excellent industry, which is represented authoritatively by Confindustria Nautica. The key to success for this event is in the association which allows us to have a direct and privileged relationship with all the categories in the industry, interpreting their needs and expectations and transforming them into an effective promotional and business event.

The growth and the opportunities of the Boat Show have to go through, however, a wider vision for the use of Piazzale Kennedy, used for all the functions for the development of the seafaring and hobby cultures and, while there are still discussions under way about a number of structural developments.  Piazzale Kennedy is lacking in the basic services for an event and every year we need to build everything from the ground up with an enormous and inefficient use of resources.

What would you ask the City of Genoa in order to make the Boat Show even better?

Genoa is an extraordinary city. As a Paduan I had the privilege of discovering it and falling in love. But it is lacking in competitiveness in terms of hospitality compared to the international competitors for the Boat Show. The airport of Genoa has grown a lot, but it is still a secondary stop for international flights and the rail and vehicle connections are complicated.

It is clear that these are mid-long range issues but they need to be tackled as a priority. In the short term, though, Genoa can network by bringing together the institutions, the unions and the manufacturers so that, together that can further support the Boat Show, because the event does not start the day before the opening but is the result of 12 months of work that needs, throughout all its phases, support from everyone.

How do you see the relationship between the Boat Show and Genoa and the Genoese?

As they say locally, the Genoese people are“mugugnone”. Changes, distractions from daily life are always seen with diffidence like as if new things could take something away. But the Boat Show is an event which brings business to Genoa and showcases the city throughout the world. I believe that the closed character of the Genoese will never change but I am also convinced that every single one is proud that the Boat Show takes place in Genoa.

You were born in Padua, how did you come to encounter the sea?

It was a professional encounter. I started working in the organisation of trade events and my specialisation often has nothing to do with the industry represented by the event. The sea and boating were first approached as a learning opportunity, but then, I confess, I was swept up.

It is a complex sector where innovation and design are integrated components that need to excite and for these reasons it is always dynamic and changing. And then it is also an industry that has an extraordinary component. Often the companies are based on family history, maybe from multiple generations, where love for the sea has become a profession and gifts extraordinary stories.  

Throughout your career you have always worked with large events. But managing exhibition spaces with yachts on land and in water is certainly more complicated compared to other sectors. What has changed since you began working in boating?

A lot has changed. In a typical show you work with a series of stands, more or less of the same size and shape, but always with a fixed schematic. While in the Boat Show each vessel represents a  stand. And all of this makes the entire exhibition displayvery dynamic. We had to equip ourselves with a number of different professionals who guarantee the most effective exhibition. A complicated job, but very satisfying. 

Outside of your job, what is your relationship with the sea and how often do you go?

I adore open views and so the sea is an element that I love. Unfortunately I don’t go to the sea very often. My generation is lacking a fundamental factor of modern luxury, time. Besides personal recrimination, a lack of time is an important element in our market because the future is tied to new possibilities for use without being tied to possession.

A sail boat or motorboat?

I would like to have a small motorboat so as to enjoy a couple of hours on the weekend. I have a son who is growing and I would love to share boating with him. The quantity of time is very little so its quality becomes very important. I believe that the sea and boating could represent this quality.


Giuseppe Orrù

Photos by Claudio Colombo


BOATING IN A PORTRAIT A project by Liguria Nautica and Claudio Colombo showcasing a gallery of Ligurian people or those who have ties with our region, who have left their mark on Italian boating, or who have deep rooted connections with our sea. For each of them, we present a photographic portrait take by Claudio Colombo and an interview with our journalist, Giuseppe Orrù, to better know each person, in their personal lives as well.

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