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ICOMIA marina conference focuses on industry’s future

Organizers said more than 200 marina professionals from 39 countries attended ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2016.

Organizers said more than 200 marina professionals from 39 countries attended ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2016, which was held in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center from Thursday through Saturday.

The ninth edition of the traveling conference had as its theme the “Future of Marinas in a Changing World.”

Organizers said more than 40 speakers represented leading marina organizations from almost every part of the world and there was an extensive conference program.

The conference was held in parallel with the METS Trade Show and its dedicated Marina & Yard Pavilion in Amsterdam.

Organized by the ICOMIA Marinas Group in partnership with RAI Amsterdam and hosted by the HISWA Holland Marine Industry Association, the three-day event opened with a welcome by ICOMIA President Jouko Huju and ICOMIA Marinas Group chairman Roberto Perocchio.

Geert Dijks, managing director of HISWA Holland Marine Industry, gave a speech that highlighted the importance of learning from other industries and business models.

"The marina and watersport market is bigger than we realize,” Dijks said. “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.”

The keynote speaker on the opening day was trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas, who examined the future of leisure around the world and said middle-class people will have less money but more time, thanks to robotization.

Bakas also analyzed boating and marina market trends, arguing that people will look for affordable boats with low maintenance costs, often sharing them through dedicated systems.

He said marinas will move from being parking lots for boats to places where people share a community lifestyle.

“We have to change the garage into a leisure destination,” Bakas said.

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