Anissa Mediouni began her career with Engel & Völkers Residential in 2007, where she played a crucial role in developing the franchising system and supported the expansion of over 20 offices. In 2013, she was approached to develop the yachting division in Monaco, and together with an expert with experience in the top five yachting brokerage houses, they developed a network of “unparalleled synergies to provide an extensive portfolio of luxury services all under one brand name.” Three years later, she was appointed CEO Engel & Völkers Yachting, located on boulevard Albert 1er.
“Engel & Völkers has been extremely successful for over 40 years and has built not only a wonderful brand reputation but an extensive database of international clients,” says Anissa Mediouni, who speaks English, French, Italian and Lithuanian. “And thanks to the opening of our head office opening, I had the opportunity to move to Monaco. There is no better place in the world to offer yachting services to clients than Monaco, the Yachting Capital, and we see that there is a lot of interest in yachting services coming from within our network.”
Yachting is the fourth largest sector in Monaco, according to the national statistics office, IMSEE, with 1,561 offshore employees and 252 companies generating 5% of revenue – €753 million. In fact, a quarter of the world’s 100 largest superyachts fly the Monaco Yacht Club flag.
For Anissa, Monaco is not only the capital of yachting but represents an international community in the heart of the Côte d’Azur, with the Monaco Yacht Show – aka “the event of the year” – bringing together all of the industry’s high-end players, clients, shipyards, and brokerage houses to the Principality.
“Many superyacht owners worldwide have memberships to the Yacht Club de Monaco and enjoy the social climate the Principality has to offer. Unfortunately, the pandemic has put a hold on things. However, it has not taken away the optimistic spirit of the lively capital and the feeling of security.”
Despite Covid, the yachting industry remains resilient. “It has affected primarily the charter sector,” explains Anissa. “At the start of the pandemic, we received many charter requests as clients were eager to spend their holidays onboard a private yacht in complete security rather than a busy hotel or resort. However, as the situation developed, most of the ports closed and, due to the travel restrictions put in place, we saw clients postponing their charter escapes and then, unfortunately, cancelling.”
On the sales side, Anissa relays that buyers postponed their purchase projects as their businesses were affected by the pandemic and, without a clear picture of when things would get back to normal, they were more reluctant to jump into sizeable financial commitments. “On a positive note,” she adds, “we have continued to close sales transactions throughout the year, even with the challenge of dealing with travel restrictions for visits, surveys and sea trials.”
Looking to the future, she sees that clients are already planning their next holiday onboard a yacht. “Chartering a yacht is for many clients a safe way to spend their holidays in the current situation. Those looking to buy might speed up the buying process to have the yacht ready for summer 2021 and spend their holidays on board.”
On the personal side, Anissa admits that she misses “the travelling side of the job” but Covid has allowed her to spend more time with her family, as well as to discover that virtual meetings could be as efficient as meetings in person. “I believe that a good balance for the future will be essential,” she remarks.
Anissa, who has a 4-year Language Interpretation and Translation degree from the VLEKHO Business School in Brussels, agrees that the yachting industry is “still known as a male-driven industry” but she believes in “a good balance between male and female presence,” as both have an added value to bring in personal and professional relationships.
“Men and women tend to view things from different angles. I also believe we still attach too much attention to gender and age – if somebody is good at their job, neither age or gender should matter. I have always focused on the added value I can bring to a company and always stay true to my values, which has brought me where I am today. I hope this will encourage more women to take a leading role in the Yachting industry,” encourages Anissa Mediouni.
Riva in the Movie
The top floor lounge at the Yacht Club de Monaco – Riva Aquarama – is named after one of its original members, the inimitable Lia Riva. When the Monaco resident first joined the yacht club, it was a tiny unassuming cubbyhole along Quai Antoine 1er, just down from Monaco Boat Service, the business her father Carlo Riva opened in 1959.
Carlo was a pioneer in the development of Monaco’s boating and yachting industry. He helped transform Port Hercules with pontoons and it was his idea to build a 100-meter tunnel under the palace to store his iconic mahogany motorboats, like one would store wine in a temperature-appropriate cellar. He shared his vision with his friend Prince Rainier and when workers started blowing up the rock, “the palace windows trembled.”
Stars like Bardot, Loren and Clooney fell in love with the iconic motorboats with white and turquoise interiors while directors used Riva boats in over 60 films, from Nikita to Men in Black and from franchises like James Bond to Agatha Christie.
A new coffee table book, Riva in the Movie, gives behind-the-scene snapshots of the classic boats acting out their roles, along with photos, original film posters and stories told by the starts who drove them.