by Jeni Bone
Numbers and sales were down, but the industry will bounce back say experts.
As the European Boat Show season gets underway, the Genoa International Boat Show, Italy's biggest boating event, closed on Sunday with a visitor count down 5% and a 'diminished number' of contracts signed compared to last year.
The show, which attracted 315,000 visitors during its nine-day run, coincided with further losses on international financial markets, including lows that saw traders dub October 10 'Black Friday'.
President of the Italian marine industry association UCINA, Anton F Albertoni, maintained that the show achieved a 'very positive result', given the economic backdrop.
'The boating sector is therefore proving to be a sector which raises considerable interest both from a market and an industrial viewpoint,' says Albertoni.
Italian traders at the show were in a defiant mood. Everyone IBI spoke to admitted either feeling the effects of the credit crisis or were concerned about future repercussions.
Some luxury boatbuilders said they were relieved that the effects had so far not been as bad as expected, while high-end equipment suppliers insisted that R&D and marketing efforts would continue as usual, despite the downturn.
According to Albertoni, Italy's marine sector is healthy enough to survive the current dip.
'I believe that the Italian boating sector has all the resources it needs to successfully withstand the current economic situation,' he says. 'Its international dimension, the will to keep growing, the constant search for new product, organisation, and service innovations are all important features of our industry.'