Well over 100 delegates attended the 3rd International Breakfast Meeting in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, courtesy of event organisers European Boating Industry (EBI) and boot Düsseldorf. The program allows delegates to participate in presentations and networking over breakfast, whilst not taking time out from the show’s working day. The format clearly works well for the industry and the boat show.

The key takeaway for delegates, after listening to the presentations over the one-and-a-half-hour event, was that the leisure boating industry is firmly on a growth track in line with the strengthening global economy.

The focus of the meeting this year was on market development in both well-established and emerging boating countries, with France and the US featured this year as established markets and emerging countries illustrated by Colombia and South Korea.

The fast-moving program featured short but concise 15-minute presentations preceded by a welcome by Petros Michelidakis, director of boot Düsseldorf, Robert Marx, president of boot Düsseldorf, and Piero Formenti, president of EBI.

Michelidakis gave an inspiring opening address. “We are all at the show together. This is not a market where competition is asked for, this is a market where partnership and successful co-operation is asked for, because a huge part of the population on earth is not boating. This is our market and not the 1.5% of the global population who are already boating, so the main question is how we can lead this large part of the society to boating and I hope you will find some answers to this in the presentations at this conference.”

The first presentation by Anouk Groen, a trend expert, set the scene for the future, showing design trends in sports and power products and how these relate to the boating industry.

The emerging market presentation on Colombia by Udo Kleinitz, secretary general of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), showed how a market that has been supported by ICOMIA and the National Marina Manufactures Association (NMMA) in the US has overcome obstacles and is growing and now has its own consumer boat show.

South Korea, presented by Tim Coventry, special advisor to the Korea International Boat Show, showed how government support has been successful in developing a middle class boating market with 33 marinas now existing as part of a government plan targeting 47 by 2019. Leisure boat driving licences now number 185,000 with 27,000 registered leisure boats at the end of 2016.

Sebastien Milcendeau, technical and business development manager at French industry body FIN, described the situation in one of the world’s most established boating markets and highlighted how important tourism is to the leisure boating industry in France, representing 7.1% of total GDP.

The final presentation by Robert Newsome, VP, Engineering Standards & Membership, NMMA, showed how the world’s largest leisure boating market, the US, continues to be the market leader with pontoon boats leading industry growth figures and outboard boat sales up, while inboard-powered small boats are in decline. Newsome emphasised that the used boat sector is vibrant with over one million used boat sales a year.