After a one-year hiatus, major world events for UHNWIs are back, with some minor changes.
Luxury rebounds: After a year of empty social calendars, two of the world’s most prestigious and prestigious events, Art Basel and the Monaco Yacht Show, returned this week with great fanfare.
Exclusive events do not usually coincide; but Art Basel postponed its eponymous edition from June 2021 until the end of September (from September 23 to 26 with preview days on 21 and 22) in order to give exhibitors more time to prepare, as well as to enable the expansion of immunization programs around the world.
This year, the extravagant art fair operated as a hybrid model, with limited capacity during the in-person event, as well as dedicated online viewing rooms for different themes. Some exhibitors went further to accommodate those who could not visit in person. For example, the Lévy Gorvy Gallery in London created a dedicated app to provide a special virtual experience of their stand F8, which included paintings by Josef Albers and sculptures by Lucio Fontana, as well as audio guides for their presentation by Francesco Clemente. The senses (part of Unlimited, the platform for large-scale parts, at booth U59).
On site, it was all standard Swiss efficiency at the COVID-19 Certification Center, a pop-up marquee in front of the Messe Basel event space. Here, attendees are quickly checked for valid COVID-19 certificates or proof of vaccination, and then an access bracelet, valid for all Art Basel events, is issued. In a dramatic last-minute move, the entry policy was revised to include those vaccinated with AstraZeneca (as before, only vaccinations approved for use in Switzerland were to be accepted). There was another last-minute change with a less welcome result: In mid-September, the US State Department issued a Level 4 do not travel advisory for US citizens traveling to Switzerland due to COVID -19, meaning many Americans were visibly missing this year’s IRL event.
Throughout Messe Basel, there were clear protocols in place (face mask warrants; contactless credential checks; hand sanitizer stations; and wider aisles for social distancing), but that didn’t hardly bothered the show where the vibe was very “just happy to be here.” Many fairgoers were indeed impressed and relieved by the strict measures.
With safety a priority for many international visitors, private jet travel has proven to be a popular form of transportation to the art fair. NetJets, Art Basel’s official associate partner, landed around 20 of its private jets in Basel on the first day of the preview alone. The company, as well as the private aviation industry as a whole, has seen record utilization rates, and in 2020 alone, the company saw a 350% increase in the number of owners. “We have many new customers who are also new to private aviation,” says Carsten Michaelis, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, NetJets Europe. “We give them back control and provide less [potential COVID-19] exposure. It’s all about peace of mind.
The appeal of private jet travel goes beyond safety to include accessibility and freedom: time is a lot of money for the wealthy über who sponsor Art Basel with their eyes on the new Basquiat $ 40 million or the 2021 Turner Prize Still Life – Winner Gillian Wearing. “We offer flexibility and autonomy”, says Michaelis, “this is real luxury”.
With over 50 years of experience and approximately 760 aircraft worldwide, NetJets is not only a leader in global aviation, but also a fixture and force in the sparkling world of UHNWIs. This year, NetJets is celebrating a 20-year partnership with Art Basel and offering its customers unbeatably priced experiences throughout the show (think: private dinners with artists; early access to viewing; and a dedicated art fair, which this year, it is at the Hotel Les Trois Rois, the alone meeting place for lovers of fashionable fairs). At this year’s Art Basel in particular, there was a real drive and desire to welcome top collectors and guests into an intimate capacity, which NetJets has always provided to its clientele. “This is an exceptional personalized experience. We’ve had the same clients for eight or ten years or more, so we know each other pretty well. We know who loves art, who loves yachts, horseback riding [sports], or Formula 1, ”explains Michaelis.
With Monaco just an hour’s flight away via small Basel Airport, the Monaco Yacht Show is proving to be a popular getaway after Basel, especially for private jet owners. NetJets alone operates 168 flights between Basel and Nice during the week. (The private aviation company also has a long-standing partnership with yacht brokerage firm Northrop & Johnson, so with Art Basel, NetJets owners get exclusive tours and access to the Monaco Yacht Show. .)
Taking place from September 22 to 25, this year’s edition of the Monaco Yacht Show, the largest of all international boat shows, is subject to strict Monaco rules, as well as a limited number; proof of vaccine; and hide mandates. In addition, it is mandatory to provide negative results of PCR or antigenic tests for entry, which makes it even more stringent than Art Basel. However, despite these measures, both events are already dubbed a success, with small crowds but large companies. Strong sales were reported at Art Basel and the yachting industry is booming like never before. For example, Heesen Yachts, the leading Dutch shipbuilding company presenting the exquisite 55-meter Moskito at the show, achieved record sales. “We are living in a very positive period for luxury companies, in which global economic policies are supported by increased financial liquidity,” said Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen. Thanks in part to the successful return of high-profile luxury events like these, there are no signs of slowing down either: “It’s not post-pandemic euphoria, but a trend that is expected to last. a while, ”says Brouwer.