The official opening ceremony of the 2011 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was held last Thursday, 26 October.
Together with the leading authorities in boating, representatives from the city’s institutions and SYBAss (the leading association for mega-yacht builders), Azimut-Benetti Group was asked to attend the show’s opening ceremony as spokesperson for the world boating industry.
Paolo Vitelli, president of the largest integrated marine player in the world, said he was honoured that the group he founded in 1969 was so well-known and appreciated worldwide. After first thanking the trade press, industry dealers, and institutional stakeholders he urged them to work together for the increased success of the industry, a major force both in Europe as well as the Americas.
He cited three key factors to be taken into consideration. First of all, the market: “I am an optimist”, declared Vitelli. “We are actually witnessing an overall increase in world wealth which is tied to the decisive development of emerging countries and which is compensating for and overtaking the slowdown in the more mature economies.” For boatyards, this dynamic does not pose a disadvantage but rather an opportunity for the future. This opportunity can be seized on the one hand, by developing products able to anticipate the specific requests of each area, and on the other, by exporting the boating culture for which Europe and the Americas are traditionally known.
To achieve this, Paolo Vitelli continued, it is necessary to reflect deeply on another aspect: the need to capitalise companies. By reducing financial dependence, companies can return to making major investments in research, innovation, and the activity so fundamental to the boating industry: designing and building yachts.
At the end of the talk, Vitelli focussed on the theme of new product development. He emphasised the need to develop new design approaches to fuel efficiency, use eco-friendly materials and construction processes, and implement the yacht “service pack” concept (meaning both the financial component as well as the post-purchase technical assistance). These are all becoming essential components without which, Vitelli provocatively suggested, it might be better not to offer the product.
His conclusion included well wishing and encouragement, circling back to the overall vision of the new approach: “We must know how to work together to succeed in this new economy, responding to market demands while maintaining - we hope - margins which will allow for new development into the future”.