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Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show 2020 boosts late-summer boat sales

Sunny and warm weather favoured the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show, which was held last weekend in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. The total number of visitors this year exceeded 10,000. Although this was slightly down from the previous year, as expected, this year's visitors clearly came with the intention of buying, which boosted boat sales. The ongoing crisis created additional challenges to the arrangements of the event, but on the whole everyone was satisfied with the show.

"This year's Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show was really good commercially. As expected, the total number of visitors was slightly down from the previous year, and clearly many of those who would usually come just to look at the boats and enjoy the atmosphere stayed at home. On the other hand, those who were genuinely interested in buying more than made up for the drop in visitor numbers," comments Jarkko Pajusalo, CEO of Finnboat, organiser of the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show.

As in previous years, the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show was organised entirely outdoors. Visitors were able to view the boats safely on the piers and in the marina of the HSK yacht club, and only members of the same group were allowed onboard at the same time.

Although the corona crisis necessitated special arrangements, supervision in the area was effective and visitors followed all the guidelines. Unlike in the normal conditions of previous years, visitors were asked to provide contact information so that they could be informed of any possible exposure to infection.

"Visitors did a great job following the guidelines. Safe distances were maintained, and hand disinfectant, face masks and protective gloves were also used. The majority of visitors also understood perfectly well the need to collect contact information in case of any possible exposure to infection. The total number of visitors in the area was controlled at all times and never exceeded the limits," Pajusalo continues.

Strong boat sales this season

Boat sales have been very strong this season, and both the popularity of boating and the growth in sales look like they will continue for a long time.

"Although we had fewer visitors than previous years, everyone who came this year was really interested in boats and boating. Many visitors were also looking to buy their first boat and only had previous experience with jet skis, for example. Sales were made across the board in all segments, and our dealers were really satisfied. Many buyers were keen to get their new boats immediately, so the boating season still continues - and the growing popularity of boating looks like it will continue also next summer," says Janne Mäkelä of Bella-Veneet Oy.

"It looks like we will have an extended boating season this year, as people are really discovering boating and all the great boating destinations in Finland this summer. The slight drop in the number of visitors was not really noticeable, as those who did come to the show this year were genuinely interested in purchasing a new boat or trading in their old one. We already have more advance orders for next spring than we had for last spring, especially for over-26-foot boats," says Erkan Fere, Managing Director of Bike & Boat World.

Growing interest in fishing

The popularity of recreational fishing is also growing in parallel with the increasing appeal of nature tourism and cottage holidays. This trend was also reflected on the pier reserved for angling boats.

"Visitors were really keen to test the boats and chat with our presenters. We had long conversations with many of the visitors, who were really enthusiastic and interested in finding out the latest information and ideas for equipping their own boats," says Jyri Kuusisalo from the "Kalastajan kanava" fishing channel.

Strong demand also for services

In addition to the visitors who came to purchase a new boat or trade in their old boat, many other visitors were interested in the wide range of boating equipment and services available at the show. Representatives of Inkoon Venehotelli were satisfied with the strong demand for winter storage among visitors to the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show.

"We received a nice number of offer requests for heated winter storage with seasonal maintenance for motorboats. The timing is perfect, as the completion of our new storage facility this September will allow us to accept many new customers alongside our already sold-out boat hotel," says Kristian Räme from Inkoon Venehotelli.

Next year's Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show will be held in August 2021. The next major boating event in Finland is the Helsinki International Boat Show, which takes place at Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre, from 12 to 21 February 2021.