The world is in crisis. The specter of global conflict looms on the horizon. Energy prices are putting pressure on millions. COVID persists. But in Monaco, at the world’s most glamorous yachting event, business as usual.
This week, superyachts with a combined value of nearly $3.8 billion converged on the blue waters of the tiny European principality for the 31st annual Monaco Yacht Show. And no amount of geopolitical anxiety could dull the shine.
“All the boats are here,” Johan Pizzardini, head of communications and media for the Monaco Yacht Show, told CNN Travel on the eve of the grand finale of the four-day event. Some 118 superyachts were among the luxury vessels on display at the country’s Port Hercule.
The superyacht crowd was also present.
The fair is specifically dedicated to the superyacht market. Every year, during normal times, approximately 30,000 people descend on this small Mediterranean Riviera country to see the astonishing spectacle of some of the world’s largest and most expensive superyachts assembled in one place.
And while the event is undoubtedly a chance for wealthy boat owners to let loose in a safe space, removed from the world of non-yacht owners, it’s also a chance to shop for even more opulence. in high sea.
It is, as Pizzardini recognizes, a “market niche”. But one that shows few signs of slowing down, despite the turbulent times. There are around 40 new luxury yachts this year, including the enormous 115.1 meter AHPO, the largest superyacht ever displayed here.
Some of the big yachts pulling their moorings, including the 62-meter Rio from Italian shipbuilder CRN and the 50-meter Kinda from Tankoa Yachts, belong to first-time yacht buyers.
This reflects a growing trend that played out significantly during the pandemic, when a host of new buyers chose to go big rather than work their way up from a smaller yacht.
“It’s [the pandemic] inspired people who were always thinking about buying a yacht,” Bob Denison, president and founder of Fort Lauderdale-based yacht brokerage Denison Yachting, which has four boats on display at the show, told CNN Travel.
“People are thinking, ‘we’re not going to wait 10 years.’ They came out of nowhere and bought a 60 meter (yacht).
“We’re still seeing a lot of that, and I think it’s going to continue. People are stepping up.”
Pizzardini has also noted a change in the attitudes of potential superyacht buyers as a result of the global pandemic.
“We saw a carpe diem period where prospective clients who had been hesitant to rent or buy a yacht for months or years were saying, ‘Okay, in this period of uncertainty, I need to enjoy life,'” he says.
While there is no doubt that the sanctions imposed against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which led to some of the world’s largest and most expensive superyachts being temporarily frozen, have had some impact on the industry, demand remains very strong. .
Arthur Brouwer, chief executive of Dutch shipyard Heesen, notes that “order books are pretty full” across the board despite elements of global uncertainty, due to the “post-Covid push”.
In fact, Boat International’s 2022 Global Order Book indicated that 1,024 superyachts were under construction or on order in 2022, a 24% increase from the previous year, with a 10.5% increase in orders for those that They measure 45 meters or more.