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Colombia conference announces plans for 2017 boat show

More than 150 influential industry executives from Latin America, the United States, Canada and Europe came together April 27-29 for the 2016 International Nautical Congress of Colombia in Cartagena de Indias.

Developed and organized by the newly established Colombia Nautica, a joint venture among the Asociación Náutica de Colombia, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Centro de Convenciones de Cartagena de Indias, along with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, the Congress of Colombia said it closed on a high note, announcing plans for a new 2017 Colombia Nautica International Boat Show.

The NMMA said Colombia is the third-largest country in Latin America. It has 48 million people and its economy is the 28th-largest in the world.

“We are thrilled with the success of the International Nautical Congress in Colombia last week,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said.

“It was enlightening to take part in discussions about Colombia being the top job creator in Latin America, its impressive creation of 2.5 million jobs in the past four years and significant reduction in poverty over the past decade. By bringing key industry leaders and stakeholders together in Colombia to discuss how the country has grown to become one of the premier markets for recreational boating and nautical tourism, the summit was successful in providing an important forum to demonstrate the significant recreational boating market opportunity and value for the industry as a whole.”

“Colombia Nautica presented to the world all that Colombia has to offer, including its privileged geographical position outside the hurricane zone, two oceans, navigable rivers, beautiful lakes and lagoons and the government's commitment to establish policies and standards that allow industry to reach international standards of competitiveness,” ANC executive director Antonella Farah said in a statement.

One of the most open markets in Latin America with 13 free trade agreements (which encompass 48 countries), Colombia is a regional hub with duty-free access to other Andean Community countries — Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru — and Mercosur, a sub-regional bloc whose full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Its associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

Colombia’s stable economy and growing middle class, coupled with its beneficial geographical location, featuring coastlines not only on the Atlantic Caribbean and Pacific oceans, but also below the hurricane belt, makes it an ideal location to become a year-round boating destination for the South American and Caribbean regions, the NMMA said. By 2020, 51 percent of the Colombian population will be middle-class, the NMMA said.

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