The 2016 Miami International Boat Show, which concluded Feb. 15, hosted its largest delegation ever of Colombian government officials and industry leaders — more than 40 people, including business owners and buyers, who sought to promote their country's emerging and growing nautical tourism.
The delegation was led by vice-minister Sandra Howard of MINCIT, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia; and Vice Adm. Pablo Emilio Romero Rojas of DIMAR, Colombia’s National Maritime Authority, in charge of executing maritime policy. Both are confirmed as panelists for the upcoming International Nautical Congress of Colombia.
The group attended the session “Developing an Action Plan for Colombia’s Nautical Future: Where to from Here?”
Developed and organized by Asociación Náutica de Colombia, together with partners the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Centro de Convenciones de Cartagena de Indias and the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, the International Nautical Congress of Colombia will be held April 27-29 in Cartagena de Indias.
Since 2010 the Colombian government has made nautical tourism a priority, beginning with the development of the first Cruising Guide to Colombia, complete with 72 IHO-compliant navigational charts. DIMAR has been working closely with ANC to revise and streamline regulations pertaining to the growth of recreational boating and marina development in the country.
Senior-level representatives of ProColombia (the government entity promoting international tourism, foreign investment and non-traditional exports in Colombia) and Grupo Heroica joined Howard and Romero during their visit to the Miami show.
Also attending were 15 business leaders, including Carlos Arturo Londoño, president of Eduardoño — Colombia’s oldest, largest and most active fiberglass boat builder for fishing, transportation, watersports and recreational boating.
“We discussed how to apply infrastructural measures in a sensible and sustainable way, as well as the implementation of ISO standards for boatbuilding in their regulatory regime,” ICOMIA secretary general Udo Kleinitz said in a statement. “These discussions will set the stage for the upcoming International Nautical Congress of Colombia in April.”
“The Miami International Boat Show, with its new home at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, proved to be an ideal location for introducing our partners in Colombia to all the U.S. marine industry has to offer while demonstrating how recreational boating can create significant economic activity for a region, as the Miami boat show does for South Florida,” NMMA director of export development Julie Balzano said. “We have a lot to learn from each other, and the Colombian Congress this spring will prove to be an invaluable jump-start to creating growth opportunities for the marine industry.”
A Colombian Coffee Hour also was held to educate attendees about emerging recreational boating activities in Colombia. Romero addressed the group directly. Learning firsthand what Colombia has to offer is what the International Nautical Congress of Colombia offers delegates.
Bellingham Marine Group is a platinum sponsor of the International Nautical Congress of Colombia, and Ronautica Marinas and MarineMax are gold-level sponsors. There are only 150 delegate spaces available.