NMMA will have pavilion at 2014 Colombian show

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association secured a U.S. pavilion at the 2014 Cartagena Boat Show in its push to increase ties to Colombia’s growing recreational boating market.

Last month, NMMA president Thom Dammrich and export director Julie Balzano, together with the U.S. Superyacht Association and the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, visited Colombia to explore its recreational boating industry and marine resources and seek potential business opportunities for NMMA members.

With Colombia’s steady economic development and its recent free trade agreement with the United States, the nation with the fourth-largest economy in Latin America and the third-largest population — 46 million — is primed for international growth and a thriving boating industry, the NMMA said. Plans are under way to host a U.S.A. pavilion at the next Cartagena Boat Show, which is scheduled for March 22-24, 2014, at the Cartagena Convention Center.

“Colombia offers a variety of water access points, with two major seacoasts bordering the country and a promising infrastructure for a growing marine industry,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “The trip gave the NMMA a chance to learn about everything Colombia is doing to build a solid foundation for its growing nautical tourism industry — an industry with the potential to offer significant opportunities for our members.”

“Colombia now ranks as our 26th-most-important export market for recreational boats and engines made in the U.S., showing a very slight increase year-to-date over 2012,” Balzano said in a statement.

“U.S. boatbuilders benefit from preferential currency exchange rates, along with a free trade agreement, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect to engage with this market. Colombia’s close geographic proximity to the United States, boating-oriented culture and current trading status — the U.S. is Colombia’s No. 1 trading partner — are even more reason for U.S. boatbuilders to explore this country.”

The visit was hosted by ProExport, Colombia’s public-private tourism and export organization, and guided by the government’s comprehensive feasibility study on nautical tourism.

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