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MEDYS 2023: Interview with Michael Skoulikidis, President of the Greek Yachting Association

By Nina Done   4 May 2023

As the Mediterranean Yacht Show wraps up for 2023, YachtCharterFleet had the pleasure of sitting down with the event organizers’ President, Michael Skoulikidis, to hear his thoughts on this year’s show.

Comprising 92 registered yachts with a combined length of 3.5 kilometers – and an average length of 44 meters, MEDYS 2023 has been hailed a roaring success. With the sun making a welcome appearance after a couple of cloudy days, we take a seat in the official MEDYS tent, in front of the gleaming superyachts and their crew, to discuss this year’s event and the Greece charter market in general. 

MedYS tent at the Mediterranean Yacht Show 2023 in Greece
Yachts lined up at the Mediterranean Yacht Show 2023 in GreeceShow-goers at the Mediterranean Yacht Show 2023 in Greece

This year’s show was another busy one, with lots of brokers and industry professionals coming from all across the globe to view the yachts and network in general. Tell me, are you happy with the show’s success this year? 

Yes, very much so, although the number of yachts in this year’s show is very similar to 2019 and 2022 [MEDYS 2020 & 2021 were canceled as a result of the pandemic]. So, we have been fully booked more or less for all three years, with 92, 93 or 94 yachts in attendance. This year we booked 93 yachts, with one or two last minute cancellations. We also have many stands – bigger than last year, and visitors from over 30 different countries.

In terms of numbers, there have been approximately 750 yachting industry professionals. Everyone has been happy with the show; the variety of boats for viewings and exhibitions and so on, so we are happy.

MEDYS is clearly gaining traction year on year. Are there any plans to change the show’s location?

No, but I have found a solution for the availability of berths on offer, as we had another 30 yachts over 24-meters on a waiting list that we couldn’t accommodate this year. We are in discussions right now about using the marina 200 meters across the water [from Nafplion port], which was privatized just three weeks ago. They are beginning to build the marina and we are in talks with the new owner for next year to give us 30 extra berths [dedicated to MEDYS], where we will put on a couple of water taxis to ferry people to and from this marina.

This means, all being well, we will be able to accommodate around 120 boats in total for next year. But we will see, as there is nothing definite in place right now. We are still in discussions, but hopefully this will be the solution to increase the number of available berths.

We’ve enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at the show, which is in contrast to shows such as the Monaco Yacht Show. Are you planning on keeping the show format, or would you like to make it more formal at any point in the future?

No, to tell you the truth. This is a public port, so we are unable to do things they are doing in other places. Also, you can’t compare Nafplio with Monaco for a hundred reasons. So, basically we will keep the same format, but try to be better in many fields, fewer but bigger stands for example, but we cannot forbid access to the public, so they can pass through as they wish.

The event is often praised by the industry for the lively and relaxed atmosphere, however, it is still a public marina and so we are restricted to what we can do. If they want to offer us a private marina, then of course I am ready to go there!

Over the last 8 years, have you seen a marked increase in yacht charter bookings as a result of the show (MEDYS)? And what are your thoughts on this?

In 2013, a year before starting MEDYS, Nafplion port had 250 yachts approached for bookings, medium and small size yachts mainly. In 2022, they had ten times more. Nearly 2,500 bookings, including some very big yachts. They come to the show, they see the yachts and meet the brokers and captains.

They also see this beautiful historical town, the first capital of modern Greece, with many historical sights on offer, such as the archaeological museum, the fortress of Palamidi and much more, plus there are many hotels, many restaurants and many other things to do and everybody is very happy. So, regarding charters, the show is a big help to the Greek charter fleet, and while I cannot give you exact figures, [the show] definitely helps.

Are you happy with the turnout of the fleet at the show?

Yes, definitely. Every year we have some new boats on the market, perhaps they are not always new builds, but they are new to the charter market. We have slowly increased the average size of the yachts to around 45 meters, which is a good size. We have also improved the quality of the yachts. So yes, from year to year the boats have got better.

We also have some big boats such as O’PTASIA, LADY VERA, O’EVA and another couple that couldn’t make it around 60 meters. So, we have a good range from 24-meters all the way to 85+ meters.

Do you have any plans to further develop maritime tourism in Greece?

While it is not necessarily our responsibility to develop this, we do have an election in three weeks and all have an interest to improve it, but I cannot tell you what this would be, as we have yet to discuss it. Definitely, we are a maritime nation, with a strong background in shipping and we plan to do something good to promote this.

So, to my last question: Where are your favorite cruising grounds in Greece?

Everywhere! Depending on the weather conditions and time of year. All the groups of islands are different from each other. Cyclades, Ionian, Sporades, Peloponnese, Argo-Saronic and so on. The islands are all special and have different influences, that you can see in their culture, cuisine and architecture, such as Italian influences, Ottoman, British and so on. This is what makes Greece so special, as every group of islands has their own characteristics.

We have many archaeological sites, as you know, warmer seas than elsewhere in Europe, longer seasons, no tides, no hurricanes, calmer waters and no hostile sea life. So, it is very safe to sail and swim. All in all, Greece has many beautiful cruising areas and we are very lucky.

Mediterranean Yacht Show 2023 in Greece

YachtCharterFleet would like to say a big thank you to the Greek Yachting Association and MEDYS and we very much look forward to returning again to the show next year. 

If you would like to learn more about the show, check out our Mediterranean Yacht Show guide, which has all the information you need.

If you are interested in making a booking for a Greece yacht charter, please contact your preferred yacht charter broker. Alternatively, view all yachts available for charter in Greece.


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