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South Florida works with Spanish city to promote industry

South Florida is partnering with Barcelona, Spain, to boost the marine industry in both regions and collaborate on nautical growth endeavors.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County and Mayor Xavier Trias of Barcelona signed an agreement this week between the Marine Industry Association of South Florida and the Barcelona Nautical Cluster to promote and enhance marine-related businesses, including trade, events and boating lifestyles, between the two communities.

“The purpose is to create economic opportunity in both regions,” MIASF executive director Phil Purcell told Trade Only Today. “From our perspective, Barcelona’s a wonderful community with a great and ethical maritime group.”

The area has become noteworthy for its service and growing accommodations for very large yachts, Purcell said, and it should work more cohesively, as Spain has done with the Barcelona Nautical Cluster since 2012. Functioning that way creates a more cohesive voice, as well as trims on redundancies, for example, when creating cases for members of Congress on behalf of the industry, Purcell said.

Most important, the partnership is forward-thinking in its globalization and regionalization of the industry and the world, Purcell said. “South Florida shouldn’t be divided by whether you’re in Palm Beach or Miami. It’s a region.”

South Florida has had trouble implementing a public transport system because it stops at county lines, Purcell said. “We need the marine industry to help rethink that issue.”

The collaboration also will help the MIASF and members of the Barcelona Nautical Cluster share information learned while implementing regulations, dealing with government, growing the industry and creating jobs and trained workers.

“They have the same desires of professionalism and leadership we want to implement here,” Purcell said. “They have issues like we do. We have labor issues, longshore issues they run across, too. How do we make our respective region the best they can be by sharing ideas?”

The partnership also could help draw the growing Hispanic demographic in the United States to the industry, Purcell noted.

“This is really about regionalization, but it has a globalization link,” Purcell said.

The regions can make recommendations to those traveling abroad, based on the partnership.

“Let’s show some leadership as an industry and in thinking forward. That means doing a really good and professional job, and aligning ourselves with ethnically and morally driven regions, and maximizing what we’re able to bring to the table as a region,” he said.

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