Newsletter October 2020

Newsletter October 2020 (11)

EBI is a member of the European Tourism Manifesto, an alliance of over 60 European public and private organisations supporting EU action on the key priorities of the tourism sector. This month, the alliance released a statement titled ‘Tourism must be part of national recovery and resilience plans’, urging Member States to include tourism as a strategic element in their national recovery plans.

Member States have until April 2021 to submit to the Commission their draft recovery and resilience plans, which should also include measures to move forward in the green and digital transitions. The tourism sector, which represents 9.5% of the EU’s GDP and is dominated by SMEs, requires € 161 billion worth of investment to return to pre-crisis levels. In addition, it has long value chains that reach many different subsectors, and it employs people across all areas and demographics. The joint statement highlights that tourism is also an industry that can support the green and digital transitions which the EU is aiming to achieve. Consequently, tourism should receive special focus in national recovery plans.

The full statement can be read here.

EBI and boot Düsseldorf are extending their partnership by a further two years. Philip Easthill (EBI Secretary-General) and Petros Michelidakis (boot Düsseldorf Project Director) signed the agreement in September 2020.

The partnership between EBI and boot Düsseldorf includes the annual Breakfast Meeting of the industry at the trade fair as well as the provision of comprehensive advice about specific industry issues. The association also helps to establish key contacts to the industry and European political bodies.

Easthill: “Extending the partnership with boot Düsseldorf is an important contribution to the strengthening of the European boating industry. boot will be playing a major role in the ‘rebooting’ of the industry in these difficult times. The boating industry will finally have an opportunity to present its innovations and technical developments to the international boating community again. We are delighted to be able to continue working with Petros and his team.”

Michelidakis explains: “The ongoing co-operation with EBI is crucial to boot Düsseldorf’s continued international success. It enables us to maintain effective contact with the industry between the trade fairs on-site in Düsseldorf and to remain constantly on the ball where the latest issues and questions are concerned.”

The partnership also represents a strategic relationship for boot. The aim of the co-operation is to safeguard the future of the water sports industry in Europe by focussing on its growth and needs.

The “International Breakfast Meeting” (IBM) at boot 2021 on 26 January is an important event in this context. This is where representatives of manufacturers, the EU institutions and the media as well as trade visitors will be coming together for an intensive dialogue about the upcoming water sports season.

boot Düsseldorf has been a strong supporter of EBI for many years now and we are very proud to be able to call ourselves a boot partner”, explains Easthill, while Michelidakis adds: “Close co-operation with the European association is extremely important in this special situation. Together we will succeed in overcoming the present difficulties and stimulating the water sports industry.”

On 14 October, EBI had the pleasure of participating in an online meeting organised by the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas (SEARICA). The meeting, titled “Maritime Industries: recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and building a strong renewal strategy”, brought together representatives from the EU institutions and from different maritime industries to discuss the impacts of the crisis and present the needs of the maritime sector.

EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill, who presented the interests of the recreational boating industry, pointed out that the crisis has had an impact on tourism, thereby affecting marinas, charter companies and boatbuilders. He also noted the positive effect resulting from some consumers resorting to recreational boating as an outdoor recreation and tourism option that enables social distancing. He then presented the priorities for the industry, which include:

  • Recognition and support for the industry’s investment needs within EU and national funding schemes
  • Funding for the development of nautical and marina infrastructure (such as berths, environmental sustainability and digitalisation)
  • Research, development and innovation targeted towards low-emission boating (such as electric and hybrid engines, biofuels, and new materials)
  • Improved differentiation between the investment needs of recreational boating and maritime transport

MEP Tonino Picula and MEP Petros Kokkalis (Chair and Vice-Chair of SEARICA, respectively) introduced the event, stressing the importance of maritime industries, not least in the context of the European Green Deal. On behalf of the Commission, Felix Leinemann (Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) explained how the EU has been helping the maritime sector and pointed out the relevance of the blue economy to the European Green Deal, while Magda Kopczynska (from the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport) highlighted the importance of financial aid and stressed her reassurance that maritime industries would be at the forefront of the greening and digitalisation of the economy. Other speakers included representatives from the shipbuilding, renewable energy and port sectors, among others.

ICOMIA’s World Marinas Conference Industry Reconnect webinar series, took place over four weeks in October, providing industry insight to over 250+ registered attendees per session. EBI was invited to speak at the second webinar with the focus on “Boating & Tourism with COVID-19 – what’s next”.

Insights on the tourism industry were provided by UNWTO’s Regional Director for Europe, Alessandra Priante. She presented the impact on the global tourism industry and priority areas to reimagine and rebuild a resilient tourism industry.

The session then covered insights on the boating industry in Europe with the challenges and opportunities the pandemic has created, as well as what the next steps to ensure speedy recovery, presented by EBI’s Secretary General Philip Easthill. Besides the initial figures for impact in 2020 for several European countries, it also addressed the measures at EU level to support economic recovery and re-establish transport and tourism. EBI also highlighted the main calls it has put to the EU institutions and is advocating for.

The 60th Genoa International Boat Show took place from 1 to 6 October, with 200 000 square metres of outdoor exhibitions and 71 168 visitors. Among the various events that were held throughout the show’s duration, EBI was delighted to participate in the Boating Economic Forecast. At the event, the latest data for the Italian industry were presented, including a survey of the Italian nautical sector carried out by Confindustria Nautica’s Market Analysis Department. Figures shared at the event include the fact that Italy’s boating market was second in the world for exports in 2019, and that 8 in 10 boating companies in Italy expect 2021 to be a year of revenue stability or growth.

This was followed by a panel discussion in which EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill participated, pointing out that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis during the season was less negative than expected, and that there has been an increasing interest in recreational boating activities, not least from new users. The impact will become clearer in the next months, but largely depends on the specific region and sub-sector of the industry, with tourism sectors being more affected. Other speakers included Saverio Cecchi (President of Confindustria Nautica), Carlo Mescieri (President of the Italian Leasing Association), Marco Fortis (Vice President of the Edison Foundation), Francesco Tilli (Chief External Relations Officer for SIMEST), with Stefano Pagani Isnardi (Managing Director of the Confindustria Nautica’s Market Analysis Department) as event moderator and presenting the Italian data.

On 14 October, the Commission published the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, within the context of the European Green Deal. The document tries to address the negative impacts that harmful chemicals can have on human health and on the environment by proposing specific actions. These include phasing out chemicals like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from consumer products, minimising their use in all products, and stepping up enforcement of EU rules to ensure compliance with chemicals legislation.

The Strategy also aims at enhancing industrial innovation in order to expand the use of safe and sustainable chemicals, making the EU a world leader in this area. To do this, the document calls for financial support for the development and uptake of safe and sustainable chemicals, through EU funding and public-private partnerships. Other actions put forward include drawing up an EU research and innovation agenda for chemicals.

The document can be found here.

Through a Council Recommendation issued on 13 October, Member States agreed to coordinate their approaches to restricting travel as part of their COVD-19 measures. Until now, national measures on cross-border movement were not coordinated. This Recommendation puts in place common criteria to give a degree of transparency and predictability to future restrictions; however, the Recommendation is not legally binding.

Firstly, when deciding whether to restrict movement, Member States will consider three criteria: the notification rate (the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100 000 people in the last 14 days, at regional level), the test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the last week) and the testing rate (the number of COVID-19 tests per 100 000 people carried out during the last week).

Secondly, based on these criteria, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish an EU map indicating the risks present in different regions, using the traffic light colour codes: regions will be either green, orange or red (or grey where there is insufficient information). The map is to be displayed on the ‘Re-open EU’ website (here), along with information on the measures that can be expected in each destination.

Furthermore, Member States have agreed to implement no restrictions on people travelling from green regions, while the measures to be taken (COVID-19 tests and/or quarantines) for people coming from red, orange and grey regions remains the decision of each Member State. This information is to be made available on the ‘Re-open EU’ website. In addition, travellers whose functions are considered essential will not be obliged to quarantine (this includes workers exercising critical occupations, transport workers, or persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons, among others).

Travel for business reasons specifically includes “attendance to Trade Fairs and Exhibitions”. Possible evidence to prove this is also stated: exhibitor contracts with – or admission to – a Trade Fair, invitation from a firm or an authority to attend meeting/conferences or events connected with trade, industry or services, invitations, entry tickets, and others. For the full list, please click here.

The review of the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) has started with the European Commission selecting a consortium of companies tasked with carrying out a study. These are Panteia (the Netherlands), TNO (the Netherlands) and Emisia (Greece). The study has a 10-month timeline and will concentrate on the following major issues as required by the RCD (Article 52): 1) Exhaust emissions, 2) Evaporative emissions and 3) Design categories.

EBI has already held an introductory meeting with the consortium and will be closely following the process and putting forward its position as set out in the position paper that has been prepared over the past months. Following the study, the Commission will prepare a report that sets out the conclusions of the study, as well as potentially other areas to address. At the same time, the Commission will decide whether the current RCD is suitable or whether legislative changes should be proposed. The deadline for this is January 2022 and would then be followed by the legislative process in the European Parliament and Council of the EU (representing Member States).

Both the European Tourism Convention, organised by the European Commission and the European Tourism Forum, organised by the German Council Presidency, focused on the future strategy of the EU for tourism after a year of disruption caused by COVID-19.

At both events, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton highlighted the need to launch concrete actions to support the recovery of the tourism and travel sector. He highlighted the importance of a close cooperation between the EU institutions, national governments, and the tourism industry at the time of crisis and during the recovery phase. He also highlighted the need to focus on sustainability of tourism, and the need for tourism to have a strong position and the sector to receive funding in national recovery plans.

Discussed at the Commission event, three main action strands were presented that may form the basis of the new tourism strategy (“Tourism Agenda 2050”), namely:

1) Safe and seamless tourism experience
2) Greener holidays
3) Tourism powered by data

In advance, EBI had already signalled the main areas of interest for the boating and nautical tourism industry and will continue the discussions with the European Commission on specific elements.


The Commission launched a new online tool called Access2Markets, intended to provide companies with the necessary information on importing and exporting to and from 120 countries. Users must simply type the name or the Harmonised System (HS) code of the product they would like to import or export, select the country of origin and select the country of destination. The portal will then display all relevant information on tariffs, taxes, trade barriers, customs procedures, rules of origin, product requirements and relevant trade statistics. Boating industry companies that are trading internationally (or aspire to do so) can make use of this to receive swift and reliable information.

Specifically for goods traded with Canada, Japan and South Korea, users can also make use of the Rules of Origin Self-Assessment tool (ROSA), a questionnaire that will help them verify whether their products comply with the required rules of origin (more countries are to be included soon under this tool).

In addition, the website also offers general, user-friendly information on key issues, step-by-step guides on importing and exporting, and a glossary of key concepts, among other things. The information is presented in an accessible way and is available in all official languages of the European Union.

Access2Markets can be found on here.


For further support: Enterprise Europe Network

Companies from the boating industry can also obtain EU support by contacting Enterprise Europe Network. This is a support tool aimed at helping companies and in particular SMEs grow internationally and innovate. The network, which is available in over 60 countries (both EU and non-EU), is made up of 3000 experts from over 600 organisations, including technology poles, innovation support organisations, universities and research institutes, regional development organisations, and chambers of commerce and industry.

Through the Network’s website, companies can look up which of these organisations are present in their area, and seek support from their experts, who will offer free personalised business services. SMEs looking to grow internationally may receive advice on funding sources, exporting, EU standards, or protecting intellectual property abroad, among other things. Companies looking to innovate can be advised on innovation-related policies, relevant funding programmes, innovation strategy, intellectual property rights or innovation brokerage services, among other things. Finally, through the website, companies can also search for opportunities for international partnerships with other companies.

The Enterprise Europe Network website can be found on here.

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