‘Boot’, the Dusseldorf Boat Show, the biggest in Europe if not the world. 17 huge exhibition halls and 1,800 exhibitors. Gigantic!
We were there for two full days. We attended with our close colleagues David Edwards-May and Jenny Ruff, from waterway consultants and specialist publishers, Transmanche.
Together, we manned the Inland Waterways International stand (sponsored by Linssen Boating Holidays). And we seized the opportunity to talk to interested visitors not only about France, but the wider system of canals and navigable waterways to be enjoyed throughout mainland Europe and Scandinavia. David’s large-size display map of the complete network caught many an eye and prompted many a conversation.
There were many visitors, many fantastic motor boats and sailing yachts (not to mention one complete hall devoted to diving and two to chandlery) and some very impressive stands. Our hall, Hall 13, was devoted to water based tourism, yacht charter and also canoeing (including a 100m section of artificial rivulet where kayaking could actually be tried out). Yet no hotel barge representation and only a relatively small amount about small ship river cruising.
Our friends at Linssen Boating Holidays had a significant-sized stand. It was very professionally designed and realised featuring two of their luxurious Dutch-built steel self-drive boats, one destined for the Venetian Lagoon. Linssen agents from all over Europe, including our website partners France Afloat, manned the stand. Linssen also had four fabulous ‘for sale’ boats on their other stand, 15 minutes walk away. We talked at length to Peter Linssen about their newly expanded joint alliance with Locaboat. Mike Gardner-Roberts (France Afloat, Linssen and Auxerre port) gave us some significant breaking news about the initiative he is leading with the Burgundy-Franche-Comté VNF region. The aim of the initiative is to enhance the experience that ‘plaisanciers’ receive and to tackle some of the less positive operational aspects. The initiative also has the full support of VNF Head Office at the highest levels. Great news and well done Mike.
We have a meeting booked with VNF Waterways Tourism management to follow up on that one in Avignon next week, when David and us attend the two-day 2016 VNF Conference. We’ll post a report on that, too.