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March April 2019 Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

PRODUCTS, SERVICES &

PRODUCTS, SERVICES & PEOPLE ICOMIA Statistics – a mixed picture The International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) Annual Recreational Boating Statistics book is arguably the most comprehensive compilation of boating statistics worldwide. It has become invaluable to marine businesses looking to gauge the health and size of their domestic market or explore potential new international markets, as well as those looking to enter the industry. Reflecting on the latest edition (released in 2018), it is clear to see that markets are changing. Increased EU investment in the industry due to sea tourism initiatives has paved the way for sustainable growth but an aging boating population and decreased interest in ownership (rather than experience) threatens overall boat park figures. In Europe there are many threats to the health of the boating market; financial turmoil, potential break-up of the EU, mass immigrant crisis and terrorism. Compared to pre- 2008 figures, there has been a 48% decline in new boat registrations and a 60% drop in sales. But, despite these challenges, most EU main boating markets have recovered and returned to profitability while continuing to invest in expansion and product innovation. Marina operation is the largest single maritime financial activity in Europe and, according to the European Commission, accounts for approximately 33% of the sea economy of the EU. In the Netherlands, as in countries around the world, the number of end-oflife boats continues to grow at a faster rate than new boats are purchased. This has led to a net decrease in the overall boat park and put pressure on marinas. Many countries have combated this by creating marketing campaigns that aim to encourage a new generation of boaters. With at least five million regular boating participants and almost two million boat owners, Australia and New Zealand offer an enormous potential for marine businesses. In these countries, 90% of boats owned are under 10m (33ft), with outboard powerboats being extremely common. In the UK, boat retailers have reported an uplift in sales but this is primarily in the second-hand boat market and largely to customers in Europe. Around 45% of retailers reported an increase in exports to the EU and fears that the UK boat park will diminish as brokers look to the EU for sales is being realised. In Asia, the drive to boost tourism has put boating activities on the agenda for government economic plans. In Belgium and France, ICOMIA Marinas Group members reported a deficit in facilities but growth of the boating industry. Boating licences for inland and coastal cruising were up 3% in 2017 in Belgium, while in France 26,000 boats were sold domestically at a total cost of €270 million; a 14% increase year-on-year. The USA, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s marinas, reports ongoing improvement in the US economy. But the issue of trade tariffs looms over future health. Marinas are at the forefront of industry growth but insufficient infrastructure is a key barrier. With changes in policy and regulation, boat usage patterns and the economic health of countries, not to mention developments in technology, it becomes more and more important to focus on sustainable marina operation. To purchase the 2018 ICOMIA Statistics book go to www.icomia.org 46 www.marinaworld.com - March/April 2019

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