What Next as Cannes Yachting Festival 2020 Cancelled?

By George Bains

The 2020 Cannes Yachting Festival has been cancelled after the organisers of the show were denied prefectural dispensation. With Cannes becoming the latest major yachting event to succumb to the effects of Covid-19, attention is now shifting to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October and whether that will go ahead as currently planned.

Following the postponement of the Monaco Yacht Show earlier this year, it was hoped that the Cannes Yachting Festival would provide a platform to facilitate a bounce-back effect for the industry. Informa Group and Reed Expositions, the organisers of the Monaco Yacht Show and Cannes Yachting Festival respectively, both showed determination to find a way for the events to proceed under strict guidelines.

Informa Group announced in June that the 30th Monaco Yacht Show would be postponed until September 2021 having previously been committed to hosting the event this year in support of the industry. Before the announcement. SYBAss and LYBRA had already withdrawn their participation from the show by that point, and Informa introduced a not-for-profit structure along with stringent safety measures in an effort to make the show feasible.

Ultimately, the global situation was too great a risk to overcome, and Cannes Yachting Festival has now suffered a similar fate. Given that Europe is still immersed in an ongoing battle against the virus with restrictions in place, the decision is for the best. Many will not be aggravated by the news as it will not come as a shock, with the costs and logistical complications of a yacht show during a time of such uncertainty carrying a risk to travelling exhibitors.

Reed Expositions were left with a bitter taste after health and security measures were approved previously by the city of Cannes and the prefect of the Aples-Maritimes. Sylvie Ernoult, Show Director for the Cannes Yachting Festival, said: “this decision is a huge disappointment for the entire nautical industry, with exhibitors in the lead, the City of Cannes and its professionals, the show’s service providers and the Reed team, who have worked together relentlessly for months to prepare the 2020 edition in the best possible conditions taking into account the context.

“I would also like to thank the City of Cannes, which has been very active alongside us in this final stretch. The implementation of the health protocol that we drew up, certified by APAVE and recognised as completely satisfactory by the prefecture’s services and the Regional Health Authority (ARS), would have made the 2020 Yachting Festival one of the safest events in terms of health in France. Also, it is with great surprise and incomprehension that we take note of the prefect’s decision.”

Companies in the industry have been robust and resolute in continuing the production of superyachts, with launches and private viewings continuing in the meantime. New superyacht models including the Azimut Magellano 25 Metri and the Sunreef 80 Power had been due to make an international debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival. 

Eyes will be on the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October, and whether Informa Group reverse their decision to proceed with the event. The latest update maintains that the 61st annual FLIBS will take place from 28th October to 1st November 2020. “The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is moving forward as planned,” reads the statement. “The health and safety of our staff, exhibitors and visitors is of the utmost importance and as such will follow the industry-wide AllSecure standards created and implemented by Informa in coordination with association partners.”

The state of Florida has now surpassed the 600,000 case benchmark and, though it is hard to predict how the situation will evolve in the coming months, there is no doubt that Informa Group will have another big decision to make.

"It is with great surprise and incomprehension that we take note of the prefect’s decision"

Sylvie Ernoult, Show Director for the Cannes Yachting Festival

"It is with great surprise and incomprehension that we take note of the prefect’s decision"

Sylvie Ernoult, Show Director for the Cannes Yachting Festival
By George Bains