The 2018 ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress in Berlin, Germany ended on a high note last week, with a festive gala evening held at the historic home of the Lake Wannsee sailing club after an intense programme of meetings, presentations, workshops and social events.

ICOMIA, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, and IFBSO, the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers, hold the joint congress in a different location each year to coordinate programmes between cooperating countries. This year’s event was organised by the International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) and held at the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm.

The first joint session for ICOMIA and IFBSO members featured speakers from IMCI, the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. This was followed by a repeat of the much valued IFBSO business speed networking session which provides an opportunity for delegates to meet each other on a one-to-one basis which is particularly helpful for first-time delegates.

Amongst other highlights was a presentation on “Arrangements” by Ralf Becker, a brand consultant and communication specialist, which placed passion and enthusiasm at the top of the list of considerations when launching a new brand.

The newly formed IFBSO/ICOMIA Joint Boat Shows Working Group introduced a reference guide for the cooperation between Marine Industry Associations (MIAs) and boat show organisers with the aim to facilitate joint ventures, encourage best practice and create an industry gold standard.

Gothenburg Boat Show’s senior adviser, Bengt Wallin, spoke of his worries and hopes for the future of the leisure marine industry, voicing his concern regarding environmental issues and the plastic pollution of our oceans.

IFBSO also enjoyed presentations by new members the Cannes Yachting Festival, Hanseboot Ancora and the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show, as well as the plans for the new Hamburg Boat Show which led to a lively exchange amongst delegates about day-to-day issues in the lives of organisers.

When discussing environmental issues, it was felt that boat show organisers are in a unique position to act as trailblazers for the industry and encourage initiatives to curb the pollution of the world’s oceans, lakes and waterways. IFBSO member shows have therefore decided to include a commitment to use their shows as conduits to push measures in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals in their Code of Excellence, which all member shows have to comply with.

A mission statement and special trademark to signal the member shows’ commitment to this initiative to the public will be announced shortly.

Following the election at the AGM on June 8, the officers and members serving on the IFBSO Executive Committee for the period 2018-2019 are:

  • Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel – President
  • Irene Dros (METS-Amsterdam RAI) – Vice President
  • Bengt Wallin (Gothenburg Boat Show) – Treasurer
  • Nouf Al Hajeri (Kuwait Yacht Show) – Member
  • Jerry Flaxman (Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show) – Member
  • Domenic Genua (BIA – Sydney International Boat Show) – Member
  • Jurij Korenc (Internautica) – Member
  • Dirk Kreidenweiss (Interboot Friedrichshafen) – Member
  • Jennifer Thompson (Miami Intl Boat Show) – Member
  • Hanse Thorslund (Stockholm International Boat Show) – Member
  • Rens-Jan van Vliet (METS-Amsterdam RAI) – Member

Congress finished with the traditional gala dinner, thank you addresses to all contributors and the official handing over of the congress organisation to next year’s hosts. The evening also featured a special tribute by IFBSO president, Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel, to Ben Wold, NMMA’s executive VP, on the occasion of his retirement after 41 years with the association and in recognition of his many years of support and service to IFBSO.

The next annual congress will take place from June 4-7 in Split, Croatia, and will be hosted by the Croatian Boating Industry Association.