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January February 2019 Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


CONFERENCES & EVENTS Panel discussions included audience Q&A sessions, adding further insight to the wide ranging topics covered. the shared boat so that they can feel comfortable when unfamiliar occupants arrive. With boats in marinas vacant around 90% of the time, there is significant mileage in the static accommodation business. And this could turn out to be far more than a handy floating bed and breakfast offering. “It’s a gateway and could be the customer’s first boating experience,” claims Beds on Board’s CEO Jason Ludlow. “Staying on board a boat introduces guests to charter and brokers, leads to trips on boats and even to buying boats.” UK-based Beds on Board currently has 30,000 members and an enviable repeat booking rate of 50%, and is actively promoting its Marina Programme. “We’re trying to convert 5% of berth holders but marinas need to open up as ‘destinations’, removing barriers to entry, giving easy access to the water and integrating with the local community,” Ludlow says. Destination appeal is particularly important in the big yacht sector, an area that Rosemary Pavlatu of A1 Yacht Trade believes to be the most significant for growth in the charter business. The ratio for charter versus private ownership currently stands at 40:60 for the existing 6,000 global superyacht fleet. “We expect charter growth of 6.5% per annum for yachts,” Pavlatu shares. “This means that in 2020 charter will be worth US billion.” “The Mediterranean is predicted to continue to retain the lead in the market, rising by 7.6% per annum in the 2017 to 2025 period,” she adds. Social networking In order to create successful marina developments, it is essential to offer a true recreational hub – and to get government on side. “The social value and contribution of marinas are often underestimated by governments although marinas are catalysts for domestic and international tourism and community social activity,” says Darren Vaux (Empire Marina Bobbin Head and MIA, Australia). Esteban Biondi (ATM and RecCom PIANC) insists “marinas must be designed for non-boaters from the outset.” Baxter Underwood, CEO at Safe Harbor Marinas, one of the five ‘institutional’ owners of marinas in the USA, is overseeing the addition of at least two properties per month to the marina portfolio and he says the company brief goes far beyond boats in slips. “We are actively looking for ways to get people to come to marinas not just for boating but for social space. We are convinced there’s tremendous room for us in this industry,” he asserts. Currently looking to acquire destinations along the US east coast, Safe Harbor has ambitions beyond the national borders. “The idea of going to the Mediterranean is an attractive idea for US boaters,” Underwood ventures. World markets A significant portion of every IWMC conference is given to updating delegates on the fortunes, good or otherwise, of the marina industry around the world. An engaging series of presentations provided excellent snapshots. Gary Groenewold CMM (Westrec Marinas, USA) confirms that the North American market is “strong throughout”. He highlights fairly even distribution throughout the Caribbean, new projects in Canada, steady occupancy year-round in Mexico and continuing strength in the USA, where 11,500 marina businesses have an billion economic impact. In Latin America, The field trip on day two of the conference was extremely well attended and made for excellent networking. 42 - January/February 2019

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