The world's leading superyacht builders and brokers have withdrawn from the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show and called on Informa, owner of the event, to cancel this year's edition in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Informa announcing their decision, SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) and LYBRA (Large Yacht Brokers Association) cited safety concerns, and questioned the event's return on investment.
SYBAss represents 21 shipyards, including Benetti, Lurssen, Amels and Heesen. LYBRA, meanwhile, is a collective of the world's leading brokerage houses, and counts amongst its members Burgess Yachts, Fraser, Edmiston, Northrop & Johnson, Yachtzoo, IYC, Y.CO and Ocean Independence.
"Lockdown arrangements across the globe currently vary and travel restrictions are extensive. It is clear that the necessity for social distancing will continue for the foreseeable future, but beyond that, the detail of the varying government-led restrictions in the coming months is unknown,” the letter reads.
"In this climate of uncertainty... both LYBRA and SYBAss members have reached a clear decision that they do not intend to participate in MYS 2020, even if it is able to go ahead in September as scheduled."
The letter goes further, and calls on Informa to consider cancelling this year's show, which is due to take place from September 23-26: "With the non-participation of LYBRA and SYBAss members likely resulting in a deterioration of exhibiting yachts, major industry companies no longer being present at the show, and the potential negative perception of the superyacht industry by the general public, we request that Informa take stock of the situation and consider cancelling the show."
Tensions between Informa and the two groups have been simmering for some time, with SYBAss and LYBRA bristling at the investment required to exhibit at the show, which for the bigger brokerage houses can reach seven figures.
In light of this, and given fewer clients are expected to travel to the show this year, members of both organisations are questioning their investment in the event. "We cannot simply be investing such significant sums at this time into an event that looks likely to provide us with even less of an ROI than recent years and with an organiser that has consistently refused to listen to the voices of its most important players – the exhibitors," they write.
However, both SYBAss and LYBRA state in the letter that they hope to return to the Monaco Yacht Show in the future if Informa is willing to work more in partnership with them.
Informa was approached for a comment, and said a statement would be released later this week.