Sustainable boats and products, adrenaline-pumping water sports action, and satisfied exhibitors and visitors: This year’s 62nd edition of the international water sports exhibition attracted a total of 41,200 visitors (2022: 49,800) to both the exhibition center and the Interboot Marina. Whether you were a newcomer or an experienced water sports enthusiast, this event offered the latest trends and a complete range of boats, boards, and accessories. The informative lectures and seminars were just as popular as the wide-ranging and interactive supporting program. “Interboot has once again showcased the overwhelming popularity of water sports in the Lake Constance borderlands region. Despite the current challenging economic situation, we are delighted to have received a great deal of positive feedback. The vast majority of the 352 exhibitors and represented companies expressed satisfaction with the trade show, reporting an informed audience and productive sales discussions,” says trade show Managing Director Klaus Wellmann.
From wakeboards and electric boats to inflatable boats and sailing yachts, the exhibition halls, open-air grounds, and Interboot Marina had a stunning array of floating gems on display. Equipment for trend sports, fashionable maritime attire, and accessories attracted customers with attractive offers, and the stage lectures and seminars at the Interboot Academy drew in large numbers of listeners. Even though the number of visitors was not quite as high as last year due to the economic situation and the weather, “The mood among the 352 exhibiting companies and the visitors was very good,” reports Project Manager Felix Klarmann. A large number of visitors came to learn about the latest advancements in the industry. “There were intensive consultations, many viewing appointments on the boats, and even purchase transactions taking place. After nine successful days, we are now charting our course for 2024 with an unwavering focus on the new five-day duration of the fair. We are deliberately seizing the opportunity to collaboratively enhance the Interboot together with our customers and make changes to various components in the future.
Sonja Meichle, the Managing Director of Meichle + Mohr, is eagerly anticipating the upcoming year and expresses contentment with the progress made during the 2023 fair. “We experienced exceptionally strong days, particularly during the week, with successful sales discussions in the boating sector as well as in the functional clothing and footwear areas. On weekdays, you frequently attract visitors who are more interested and knowledgeable. However, it can be stated unequivocally that it was a very good audience overall. We also fully support having the fair run for five days in the future. While we may not have the same cost considerations as exhibiting companies from distant locations, we firmly believe that the shorter duration of the fair is a good idea. I am thrilled about our future chance to showcase ourselves efficiently and concisely over five days at the trade fair. We have consistently demonstrated our loyalty to the Interboot and will continue to do so. It’s a platform that is very important to us.”
Dennis Pfister of Boote Pfister also has a positive bottom line for the fair: “Based on previous experience, weekdays tend to be quieter, but this year was a definite exception to the norm. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday proved to be exceptionally strong days. Last year, many suppliers visited our booth. This year, we welcomed numerous newcomers who recently entered the boat business. The jet ski industry is experiencing significant growth where we are. We had a diverse range of customers from all over Germany. Compressing the event into five days could offer significant advantages for both exhibitors and customers, as it allows for a more concentrated experience. What’s more, business continues at home. The reduced trade show duration allows staff to be taken out of day-to-day operations for a shorter period of time. That makes me a strong proponent of a five-day fair.”
Vinzenz Batt, the Managing Director of the Swiss Boatbuilders Association, also views the shortening of the length of the fair as a valuable opportunity. “Small and medium-sized businesses in particular find it difficult to release staff from their normal duties for several days. For companies like that, business stands still during the trade fair. It makes a lot of difference whether the length of the fair is nine days or five.”
The Sustainability Trail, which was offered for the first time this year, received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. The participating booths, whether they featured climate-friendly accessories or boats, were clearly identified with a green balloon. “Sustainable thinking is really catching on,” said Simon Licht, one of the two founders of the start-up Khulula, at the industry talk.
Ideal weather conditions were present for test rides with mini sailboats and for the action program on the Fair Lake. Over the span of two weekends, many spectators witnessed four-time European jet ski freestyle champion Niels Willems executing a series of backflips, while the dogs of the German Life Saving Association (DLRG) showed off their rescue skills by pulling people out of the Fair Lake. Board a boat, cast off, and have fun was the motto of the Interboot Marina. On-site exhibitors report that they dedicated a significant amount of time to engaging with prospective customers aboard boats on Lake Constance. “There was a lot of demand. Numerous test rides were offered with both the sailboat and the motorboat.”
Two guest events on the two Interboot weekends also ensured that the exhibition grounds in Friedrichshafen were fully booked. Parallel to the international water sports exhibition, the InterDive (September 21 to 24) and the Nadelwelt (September 29 to October 1) took place, ensuring the satisfaction of both organizers and visitors.
The next Interboot will take place from September 25 to September 29, 2024.