BikeBiz sits with Marta Torres Ninot, coordinator of the Sea Otter Europe festival, as the event returns to Girona-Costa Brava
Three months before the event takes place, how many seats have been taken at Sea Otter Europe?
We now have 160 exhibitors and 70% of the exhibition area is reserved. Many brands made the decision to participate in the festival very early on, reserving as soon as registration opened. Others postponed their reservations from last year when the exhibition area was canceled, and some canceled their attendance out of fear, but are now ready to return with more enthusiasm than ever.
Finally, new brands are joining the event for the first time and we also know a few that will be making last minute decisions. This year, reservations are made with ease via the new reservation platform through which you can buy and manage your space. It is accessible via the Sea Otter Europe website and allows you to
to select your preferred location and add onsite services.
Compared to the 2019 edition, has there been more interest from brands or companies linked to cycling?
We have more brands related to urban mobility and more electric brands (the sustainable mobility sector is constantly growing). Major brands specializing in bicycles, accessories and components, and services which will be of great interest to visitors will also be present again.
There is also a lot of interest in the bike test program, although some brands are already anticipating stock issues. The fact that the Mobile World Congress is taking place on the weekend of June 28-July 1 in Barcelona is great news as it indicates a sense of normalcy and means that trade fair events are resuming (B2B and B2C). We look forward to the return of the events, especially cyclists.
How many new brands have signed up so far?
At present, we have identified a total of 30 new brands. Some exhibitors have not yet completed their profile on the website, so we do not yet have the complete list of brands present, which will be finalized in the coming months. Local administrations, including the Provincial Council of Girona, the Costa Brava-Girona Tourist Office, the Town Hall of Girona and Turisme Catalunya, are still committed to the festival, in addition to the unconditional support of Continental and Canyon as main sponsors. .
They go hand in hand with Cetelem, Wear Design and ABUS, who have been firmly committed to the festival from almost the very beginning. In terms of new sponsors, Garmin is joining as the festival’s tech brand, with its Tacx home trainer brand, Goufone as the festival’s official telecommunications brand, and Wikiloc as the official mapping brand. Littium by Kaos has also become an urban brand with the Littium Girona Urban Ride.
How is the bicycle boom affecting the organization?
The bicycle is experiencing a real boom among end consumers and more people than ever are cycling. The number of people participating in cycling for sport and health reasons has increased and there has been a real upsurge. We also see cities evolving towards a transition towards urban and sustainable mobility.
The shutdown caused by COVID shows how important it is to let the environment breathe. Cycling is the best way to achieve this and this has a direct impact on the growth of the sector. Everything to do with technology and games with online and interactive cycling platforms has also seen an upsurge, spurred by restrictions on movement. It’s a great counterpart to traditional cycling and has a long future ahead of it. All of this means that new exhibitors with more varied backgrounds are taking up space in the exhibition area.
What reasons would you give to a brand that has not yet done so to register?
If you are directly or indirectly involved in the cycling industry, Sea Otter Europe is the festival for you. The festival offers business opportunities and direct contact with end consumers and is the perfect place to continue to establish your brand. It is a meeting point for industry professionals and end users.
Our visitors are avid cyclists and very committed to sport. Sea Otter is the leading event in Europe in the form of a festival, organized in the city of Girona-Costa Brava, considered by many to be a cycling paradise. We attract 60,000 visitors from over 50 different countries – a growing number – and 6,500 race participants. We also offer a sports program with all the different categories represented (road, mountain bike, gravel, urban e-bike and children) and the largest bike test program in Europe.
How well do you expect bicycle brands to present key new products at the show?
Sea Otter Europe is a great place for a product launch, as it brings the general public, media and competitors together thanks to the festival’s notoriety. Moreover, somewhere like Girona-Costa Brava, which has such a long history in terms of cycling and is such an attractive place for visitors, is a perfect place to present a product launch. Brands need to seize the moment and try to stand out. Presentations or product launches are a great form of brand activation and in a setting like Sea Otter Europe they can be done very creatively alongside attendees.
How will visitors have access to the festival and what protocols are you working on?
Access to tickets (free) is being implemented. Visitors will be able to purchase tickets through the Sea Otter Europe website. There will be three entrances to the festival and at each one, visitors will need to scan the QR code that appears on the ticket. This will serve a dual purpose: monitoring capacity and tracking visitors in the event of a COVID outbreak.
In addition, it offers us very interesting quantitative and qualitative information for post-event analysis. We are still waiting to see if the COVID measures will remain in effect. It looks like we won’t have to wear masks in September. Either way, for now, we will continue with a protocol based on ability checks, temperature checks, masks, social distancing, and hand washing. The same measures will apply to participants when collecting bibs, exhibitors and the media during accreditation.
Are there any new additions to the sports program that haven’t yet been announced?
The World E-Bike Series, the electric bike world cup, has already been presented as a major novelty for 2021. It will be a double competition, with one competition on Friday and a second on Saturday. Another novelty in the sports program is the Littium Girona Urban Ride. An electric bike ride in Girona city center (in the form of a visit) with a stop to eat.
The Canyon E-MTB experience returns with a new format, closer to a bike tour, with a stop at a farm for a hearty breakfast halfway through, and a spectacular ride through the forest and along typical trails of the Costa Brava region. The Continental Ciclobrava (the event that won everyone over in 2020), the Girona Gravel Ride (in the gravel discipline), the exciting Canyon Pirienxus Challenge (also in the gravel discipline) and the Scott Marathon Cup (which is part of the UCI Marathon Series circuit) will also be back for another edition.
The Enduro Sea Otter Europe, a 37 km enduro event that will also be part of the Sea Otter Europe program, has been added to the program. It will take place in Riudarenes, just 20 minutes from the festival by car.