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ICOMIA World Marinas Conference Highlights Global Trends

The ICOMIA World Marinas Conference (IWMC) 2016, held during METSTRADE in Amsterdam last week, was a truly international event. Over 200 marina professionals from 39 countries attended this ninth edition based around the theme ‘Future of marinas in a changing world’.

Organised by the ICOMIA Marinas Group in partnership with RAI Amsterdam and hosted by the HISWA Holland Marine Industry Association, the three-day conference was opened by ICOMIA President Jouko Huju and ICOMIA Marinas Group chairman Roberto Perocchio. Geert Dijks, managing director of HISWA Holland Marine Industry, then spoke of the importance of learning from other industries and business models.

"The marina and watersport market is bigger than we realise. Together we need to invest in promotion in areas where our industry is not yet active in order to reach new customers and new markets. The ultimate aim is to have more people enjoying more hours on the water,” said Dijks. He also introduced delegates to HISWA's 'Welcome to the Water' campaign to grow the watersport sector in the Netherlands. 

Keynote by trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas

The keynote speaker on the first day was the renowned trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas, who shared his distinctive vision on the future of leisure around the world, believing that the middle class will have less money but more time due to robots. He also analysed boating and marina market trends, suggesting that increasingly people will look for more affordable boats with low maintenance costs, and also share them via dedicated channels.

He also said marinas will evolve from being parking lots to being places places where people can share in a community lifestyle. “We have to change the garage into a leisure destination.” Bakas said.

Sharing know-how

After the opening ceremony, delegates attended a range of sessions designed for the sharing of knowledge and information, with the focus being on opportunities in emerging markets, alternative approaches to marina management, regulations and legislation and the overlaps between public and private sectors.

A session called ‘New consumer trends – the share economy’ highlighted the trend for asset sharing, which is already impacting other sectors. Another trend highlighted in the superyacht sector concerns the practical challenges created by growing numbers of large yachts worldwide, a subject that was covered in detail.



On day two delegates attended a range of sessions looking at innovative solutions for marina operations, staffing and training, marketing and customer care. Friday's business matchmaking event proved popular, as did the tour of top marinas in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Together with two nights of social events, the IWMC has a firm reputation for facilitating networking and one-to-one contacts which enable people to learn from one another.

“The conference keynote by futurologist Adjiedj Bakas underlined the significance of how this world is changing and set the stage for the following sessions on marina development, regulations and much more besides,” said Udo Kleinitz, ICOMIA Secretary General.

“IWMC 2016 attracted a large number of marina professionals from all over the world and confirmed its international profile. The enormous efforts put into creating and shaping this conference by HISWA, RAI Amsterdam and the ICOMIA Marinas Group paid dividends for all delegates. And special thanks are due to the 11 key players from the global marina industry who sponsored the event.”

The marina hub

This year’s ICOMIA World Marinas Conference was held adjacent to the METSTRADE Show, the world’s largest B2B marine equipment trade show. The sold out Marina & Yard Pavilion featured 64 exhibitors and the synergy between the pavilion and the conference created an ideal marina hub within the main show. 

Next stop: New Zealand

The next edition of the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference is in Auckland in early 2018, and will be presented by the New Zealand Marina Operators Association. “This conference will again be a perfect opportunity to accelerate contacts and new investments in the branch, generate ideas and trends to make marinas more sustainable, and enable the expansion of marina chains and consortium on an international level,” said Roberto Perocchio, chairman of the ICOMIA Marinas Group.

About ICOMIA World Marinas Conference
The ICOMIA World Marinas Conference is for marina owners, operators, developers, consultants, service providers, government officials, equipment manufacturers, nautical tourism promoters and port and harbour operators. The 2016 conference was organised by RAI Amsterdam in partnership with the ICOMIA Marinas Group and the HISWA Holland Marine Industry Association.

For more information please visit our website or the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference group on LinkedIn.


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