Boating Industry

January 2017

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Page 11 of 59 INDUSTRY NEWS 12 | Boating Industry | January 2017 dent of Lenexa, Kan.-based Savior Products, Inc. "The European economy has been flat for a while, and our strong dollar against the Euro hasn't made things any easier. But things are moving again in Europe, and they're bounc- ing back now. So this show is important for us, and this year's METS was a good one." Rens-Jan van Vliet, product manager – mar- itime for METSTrade, said the strong support by both exhibitors and show visitors reflected improving economic conditions worldwide. "The economy in Europe has been mov- ing forward, after being flat for a long time," he said. "We're seeing more economic activ- ity in key boating markets like Spain, Italy France and the U.K. while at the same time, economies in North America and Asia re- main strong. So these improving conditions are driving demand for leisure products." Kyle Aeschliman, with Aquatic AV, agreed that evidence of a stronger European economy can be seen at this year's show. "We've been doing well in Europe. The rate of growth for our marine business has been faster in Europe than it has been in the U.S." West Palm Beach-based Glidecoat was one of 270 first-time exhibitors – another record for the show – displaying product as part of the USA Pavilion at the 2016 METS. "We've of course heard about the show for years but this is our first time exhibiting," said Paul Westhorpe, managing director. "We're obviously looking to build our international relationships and this is the place to do that." The growth of the American presence at METS is no surprise to NMMA President Thom Dammrich. "In our 28 years at METS this is our larg- est Pavilion yet," he said. "Business at home is good, so companies have the money to invest in developing their overseas markets and the first step in that process is coming to METS. Right now we have a strong dollar and that does make it a bit harder in some overseas markets, but currency exchange rates fluctu- ate and you have to be in the market for the long haul. Economic conditions in Europe are improving now, and even some of the hardest hit markets, like Spain and Italy, are doing bet- ter than they were. So in spite of the strength of the US dollar, there are still significant op- portunities to grow business through export." The 30th METS will be held from Nov. 14 to 17, 2017, at the Amsterdam RAI Con- vention Centre, the Netherlands. Ids Boersma, managing director, RAI Exhibitions; U.S. Consul General to Amsterdam David McCawley, and NMMA President Thom Dammrich cut the ribbon to officially open the USA Pavilion at METS.

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