The first-ever Economist Sea Tourism Summit was organised ahead of boot Düsseldorf with around 200 participants discussing the future of nautical tourism. Speakers included industry leaders, policy-makers and other high-level participants. The event stood under the theme of “Navigating a sea of opportunities”. It provided many interesting panel discussions and presentations on the future of nautical tourism and the role that industry and policy-makers, as well as the positive impact of the industry. EBI was one of the sponsors of the event.
EBI President Jean-Pierre Goudant gave a keynote at the Summit, highlighting the importance of nautical tourism for economies, employment and in particular coastal and peripheral regions. He highlighted some key challenges for the industry, namely economic turbulence, adaptation to climate change, changing consumer demand and increase in sharing economy.
In his remarks, he also highlighted the key measures that can ensure a sustainable growth and increase employment in the recreational boating industry. This requires industry adaptation to solidify the existing interest in boating among younger generations, as well as innovation, digitalisation and a strong environmental perspective.
He emphasised the role of the EU institutions in supporting industry through: 1) Positive EU agenda towards promotion of nautical tourism , 2) Level playing field in tourism sector in regulation and taxation, 3) Research and innovation funding, 4) Stronger Single Market and 5) Mutual recognition of skipper licenses.
Several speakers provided their perspective on the future development of the nautical tourism industry. Robert Marx, President of BVWW underlined that boating tourism does not just refer to mega yachts, but the huge number of smaller boats that have a share of more than 80%. The smaller boats, especially as charter boats, have a substantial impact on the tourism economy. He called for an alignment of VAT rates for campsites and mooring berths. Yves Lyon-Caen, President of the French Leisure Marine Industry Federation FIN underlined the importance of environmental challenges and ensuring that the pleasure of being on the sea is the focus in engaging a new generation of customers.
Petros Michelidakis, Director of Boot Düsseldorf underlined the importance of having a strong future perspective for the indsustry. A key aspect to consider is that even though nautical tourism is a small part of the overall economy, is does not appear as small if one looks at the positive impact for society, economies and people benefiting from the sector.
The 2020 edition of the International Breakfast meeting, co-organised by boot Düsseldorf and EBI on 21 January focused on the topic of sustainable boating. The European Green Deal, which has the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent was at the centre of the discussions followed by talks from electric, hybrid, hydrogen and digital innovators.
Drawing a record crowd of over 180 participants, the International Breakfast Meeting placed sustainability at the heart of the discussions. Welcoming participants, Petros Michelidakis (Director, boot Düsseldorf) said “Over 10 percent of the EU’s population participates in water sports and they want this to take place in a clean environment. The International Breakfast Meeting is the ideal location to discuss the key trends for our sector and proactively develop the future of sustainable boating.”
In his remarks, EBI President Jean-Pierre Goudant highlighted that “For our sector, moving towards sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint is crucial. As EBI, we see this as one of our key challenges for the coming years that we will advocate for. The International Breakfast Meeting clearly shows that our industry is innovating and proceeding on the right path.”
The keynote speech was given by Dr Artur Runge-Metzger (Director, European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action). He presented the European Green Deal, which strives to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 through a transformation towards environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. He highlighted the growth opportunities that this offers across all industries, including upcoming funding opportunities.
Laurent Perignon (Energy Observer Developments) presented the Energy Observer project, which uses a vessel as a test case to study various innovative technologies based on hydrogen. These have been tested, optimised and validated on its global travel. He also addressed upcoming bans of diesel engines in parts of Europe and the growth of marine protected areas as reasons for needing to focus on carbon neutrality in the marine sector. Energy Observer Developments has implemented several hydrogen solutions, including electro-hydrogen gensets for marine use with power ranging from 30 to 100 KVA running exclusively on hydrogen.
Vladimir Zinchenko (CEO, Greenline Yachts) presented the company, which produces vessels with hybrid, electric and Diesel engines. The aim is to shape the future of responsible boating through hybrid engines and ensure that the boats are easy to use for customers and provide the necessary comfort. He underlined that hybrid propulsion has the potential to attract boaters through the comfort of silence, constant power supply and cost savings.
Marteen Bernhart (Founder, La Bella Verde) presented the company, which runs catamaran day charters on Ibiza with new franchises in Brazil and Sidney. The catamarans are autonomous and use solar power and hydro-generation. A new area of their work are sustainable materials for the building of boats to address end-of-life recycling concerns, which La Bella Verde is doing through the development of a fully recyclable boat. In addition, their day-charter catamarans clean the oceans through nets that can be lowered into the water.
Simon Bühl (Founder & CEO, BrandUp Factory) provided an overview of the cross-over between digitisation and sustainability and the need for companies in the marine sector to move towards a big data-driven business model. The aim should be a structured collection and retention of data and a business model based on collaboration and adapted business culture.
Concluding the event, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are convinced that the environmental transformation of our industry will create new opportunities for growth in our sector. This must be based on three key pillars: Industry innovation, research and innovation funding, as well as policy that promotes sustainability. These are among the key topics for EBI in the coming years. We want sustainable boating to be made in Europe.”
To receive the presentations from the event, please contact the Secretary-General (pe(at)europoeanboatingindustry.eu).
The BlueGeneration project has released a dedicated job platform for the blue economy, which includes ship-building and coastal and maritime tourism. It can be used free of charge and will be promoted to over 8000 young people every year in meetings and school visits. The platform can be accessed here: https://bluegeneration.careers/
Blue Generation project
The objective of the Blue Generation Project, which EBI is part of, is to inspire and engage young people between 15 and 29 years to pursue a sustainable career in the Blue Economy (coastal tourism, aquaculture, ocean energy, marine biotechnology, shipbuilding, maritime transport and fisheries). EBI is providing input to various aspects of the project, in particular the development of the online version of a blue career guide and the massive open online course (MOOC). The PDF version of the Blue Generation guide can be found here. More information about the project can be found here.
The Conference was organised by the Croatian EU Presidency and Industry4Europe, a coalition of over 150 industry associations promoting a strong EU industrial strategy. EBI is a longstanding member of the coalition and was a sponsor of the event held on 21 January in Brussels.
Several high-level speakers from the EU institutions spoke at the event:
Key points addressed during the event were the role of European industry to implement the European Green Deal, the importance of small and medium-sized companies, and industry as backbone of the European economy. The EU should lead in innovation and developing the products, technologies & business models of the future.
EBI partnered with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, thus strengthening its action for environmental and economic sustainability and its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a partner to the high-level initiative, EBI leads the environmental engagement of the European recreational boating industry.
The United Nations has proclaimed 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to draw attention to the role of ocean health and bring together stakeholders for sustainable development. “EBI is a strong supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we are delighted to now be a partner of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Engagement with the various branches of ocean science is key to develop policy at European level that is geared towards sustainability”, EBI President Jean-Pierre Goudant declared.
The EBI Council committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among which “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” and “Life Below Water” are key areas for the recreational boating industry. “Our industry promotes clean and healthy oceans and we are engaged to achieve economic and environmental sustainability. It is a transition that requires strong support by policy-makers at European, regional and national level. We look forward to working together for these goals within the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”, commented Philip Easthill, Secretary General of EBI.
More about the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development can be found here.
Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership
EBI also became an official supporter of PIANC’s Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership. Participants have committed to work together to support the inland and maritime navigation infrastructure sector in their response to climate change. Activities aim at furthering understanding, providing technical support, and capacity building to 1) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift to low carbon maritime and inland navigation infrastructure and 2) strengthen resilience and improve preparedness to adapt to the changing climate.
EBI will be participating to support the further development of environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation policy in the European recreational boating sector.
PIANC is the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. PIANC members include Governments, corporate members, public and private sector organisations and, individuals from 65 countries around the world.
More about the partnership can be found here.
EBI met with Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and key leadership staff to discuss the agency’s new strategy, its new work on recreational boating and common priorities around environmental sustainability and maritime safety.
The discussions centred on the new strategy of the agency covering the period 2020-2024 that will focus on recreational boating for the first time. EBI and EMSA will be working together on topics related to maritime safety and environmental sustainability to develop concrete outcomes.
Both organisations share an understanding of the importance of maritime safety and environmental sustainability. EBI will be engaging with EMSA to develop a positive approach to the issues and represent the European recreational boating industry. The meeting took place at the Lisbon headquarters of EMSA with the EBI delegation consisting of Philip Easthill, Secretary-General of EBI and Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Research Department Manager, Confindustria Nautica.
EMSA provides technical expertise and operational assistance to improve maritime safety, pollution preparedness and response and maritime security. It is an official EU agency and its mission is to serve EU’s maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector. EMSA works on maritime safety, security, climate, environment and single market issues.
Following the European Commission’s presentation of the European Green Deal, the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan was presented. Its aim is to mobilise public investment and unlock private funds through EU financial instruments. This should have an overall value of at least €1 trillion. It is based on three dimensions:
The full proposal on the Sustainable Investment Plan can be found here. EBI will be working with the EU institutions to ensure that the recreational boating industry is supported in its transition towards sustainability and inform the sector about funding opportunities.