The Monaco Yacht Show: A Reflection of Evolution

By Ben Roberts

Monaco has been the home of yachting for over 60 years. When the foundations of the first Yacht Club were laid in 1953, a new era arrived; bringing the dawn of the superyacht movement with it.

From the golden era of luxury regattas in the 50s to the legendary silver screen celebrities of the 70s, Monaco has been at the heart of the yachting lifestyle culture for decades.

Port Hercules - the iconic ocean gateway of Monaco - is a symbol of this cultural phenomena, as well as a key source of its growth. After all, this is the birthplace of the Monaco Yacht Show; a global event which reflects and supports the evolution of the superyacht industry every year.

During its inception in 1991, the first Monaco Yacht Show brought a handful of brokers and 32 yachts to Port Hercules. Now almost 27 years old, this thriving superyacht platform is due to welcome over 590 exhibitors and 125 superyachts as well as a playground of even larger vessels at anchor across Monaco Bay.

“Having been part of the organisation for almost 20 years, I am proud to say that together with the existing team, we have all assisted in the evolution of the show to make it what it is today: a true flagship event in the worldwide yachting calendar.” explains Gaelle Tallarida, Managing Director of the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS).

The MYS is a vital event for industry and owner alike, but how did it evolve into the global spectacle it is today? We explore the key factors behind the show that bring the yachting industry to its heel every September.

The Rise of the Superyacht
Arguably an origin story for the modern superyacht, the MYS has been at the heart of industry activity each year; cultivating the demand of increasing wealth and offering a platform for the global yachting culture to evolve.

The era of the first MYS was a different time for yachting, where a 54-metre yacht would be considered one of the Top 100 Largest Yachts in the World. Today, the starting criteria of the Top 100 has grown to 82-metres.

Over two decades the trend for larger yachts has become evident with each launch, with megastructures such as Azzam or Sailing Yacht A continuously breaking boundaries. Considering the nascent age of the superyachting community itself, this evolutionary pace is rare to find and hard to set.

The MYS, and the fleet at anchor across the bay, has always been a platform for the largest and latest on the water, reflecting the latest trends and offering up new designs for owners looking to build their own floating giant.

Growing with an Industry
Since day one, the Monaco Yacht Show has expanded to meet demand. An exhibition built for a growing industry, the MYS has introduced new docks and jetties across the years to accommodate up to 125 yachts in 2017.

The exhibition space itself has also transformed, providing a platform for brands (old and new) looking to connect with a growing database of attending owners. A clear signifier of growth, the MYS is looking to bring over 590 exhibitors to the docks this year, all with the latest technology, innovations and life changing advancements on the cutting-edge.

This is one of the key reasons behind the evolution of the show, constantly accommodating the demands of the many and now set to break the 87% annual renewal record of returning exhibitors, the highest rate since the 2008 crisis.

Changing Palettes
Luxury demands are changing, turning the reflection of demand that Monaco gets so right into an ever-present duty to keep up with modern yachting trends.

Younger owners are entering the market, changing the game in terms of technology and demand. A platform known for its ability to reflect change, the rise of explorer yachts and the key turn toward charter and experience have all come from the sounding board of the MYS.

Not only do generational matters enter into the equation, but tastes and wider symbiotic relationships with the world of luxury. The MYS brought forward a focus on supercars in 2016, and is this year pushing that further with a new range of luxury cars for the owner with a penchant for both road and water.

An emphasis on luxury tenders and water toys over the last year has brought forward the Tenders & Toys Show, an exhibition dedicated to the high-octane and adventurous lifestyle this year; proving that the show is evolving, even today.

By Ben Roberts