Following a difficult discussion with our wonderful partners in Victoria, British Columbia, Victoria International Marina, we have decided that the impact of COVID-19 on the coming 12 weeks in Canada, the USA and the Pacific Northwest, are so difficult to predict or anticipate, that we have agreed to postpone The Pacific Superyacht Forum from late June 2020, until the first half of 2021.
In addition, another self-isolated phone call with Claire German, Managing Director of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour came to the same conclusion - that it will be impossible to expect our industry to be anywhere near normality by May this year. And therefore, The Superyacht Design Forum will also be postponed until 2021.
However, as we head towards one of the most incredibly complex summers in our industry’s history, we have to hope, and perhaps pray, that the impact does in fact decline before the end of June and give us a chance to rethink, refocus and recover from the inevitable economic impact, so that some charter guests, owners and clients can enjoy the fleet in July and August. Once this saga does finally come to an end, there will be a huge sigh of relief and we will review the commercial Armageddon that will have no doubt taken many lives and businesses. Life and work may never be the same again.
Back in 2017, we created a new strategy for The Superyacht Group under the slogan, ‘Less is More’ and perhaps this will be more apt in 2020 than ever before. Everyone says there are already too many shows, events and meetings in our niche industry and the COVID-19 impact could well take its toll, where every event owner is trying to squeeze their postponed event into the three-month window after the summer. It is fair to say that something will have to give, and it is likely that many companies will scrutinise and analyse what makes sense. And perhaps, due to the economic decline, exhibitors may just have to say ‘no’, they can’t afford it. So, there may well be a fall-out this Fall.
Our inevitable decision to postpone both the Design and Pacific Forums has catalysed our own in-house analysis of what makes sense and how we can manage our own events strategy. Therefore, our 2020 focus will now be exclusively on delivering an incredible and unprecedented 2.0 version of The Superyacht Forum 2020, in Amsterdam. The plan will be to deliver a brilliant Forum, each day with a strategic theme, The Design & Build Day, The Business & Ownership Day, and The Technology & Operations Day, incorporating elements from the Design Forum and bringing together all key industry sectors and disciplines. Our mission is to assemble over 1,000 industry leaders and decision-makers from around the world for a series of strategic meetings, workshops and discussions focused on the future. It will be a form of reflection on the impact of COVID-19 and a chance to reset the dial. In addition, due to the impact of the virus, we will be introducing a significant virtual element to The Superyacht Forum 2.0, where several-thousand additional industry stakeholders will be able to log in live and participate in the discussions, and watch some of the keynote sessions from their yacht or office. This will broaden the horizon of the event and deliver a platform for the wider industry to influence the future of our market, in what will be an exciting transition for the event.
While we cannot predict the outcome of COVID-19, with events like the Monaco Grand Prix being cancelled and so many yacht shows postponed, we feel optimistic and confident that by the time November 2020 arrives, we will be entering the ‘rebuild and refocus’ phase of our industry’s history. We want to deliver The Superyacht Forum as a platform that can help all stakeholders come together for serious reflection, debate and strategic shifts, and be part of building and shaping a 'Brave New Superyacht World'.
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