The 2012 ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress was held in Cape Town, South Africa last week from April 18-21. The successful Congress took place at Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel, which is located in the centre of Cape Town and is complimented by spectacular views over Table Mountain, Robben Island, Table Bay and the mighty Green Point Stadium. It was organised by the newly formed Marine Industry Association of South Africa (MIASA).

After registration on Tuesday, April 17, delegates were taken on industry site visits to view rig designer Southern Spars; large sailing-yacht builder Southern Wind Shipyard, and the state-of-the-art facilities at Quantum Sails, which produce sails for multihulls and keelboats. Two more industry visits followed on the Thursday at catamaran builder Robertson and Caine and Two Oceans Marine.

Congress commenced on Wednesday, April 18, and consisted of various committee meetings and the annual ICOMIA/IFBSO Joint Session was held on the Friday.

The key note speakers were Michael Lalor of Ernst and Young, who spoke about the African market; Liesl Nel of The Moorings, who gave a presentation on the global charter market; Ian Calvert of Instant Grass, who discussed ‘The Emerging African Consumer’; Guy Lundy of Accelerate Cape Town who shared his expertise on Africa and world economics, and Thom Dammrich of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) who reported on NMMA initiative, ‘Go Boating’.

ICOMIA (the International Council of Marine Industry Associations) has been the focal point of the global recreational marine industry since 1967. In liaison with its members across the world, ICOMIA presents a strong and united voice in representing the industry’s best interests when dealing with international authorities and major organisations.

The last day of Congress consisted of the ICOMIA Annual General Meeting and a Working Session, where Peter Methven of the British Marine Federation (BMF) was elected as the new president of ICOMIA, taking over from Lorenzo Selva (Italian UCINA). Romano Piculjan (Croatian CBIA) was elected as vice president and Yavuz Sipahi (Turkish DENTUR) was elected as second vice president.

The Congress ended with a spectacular Gala Dinner at Simon’s Restaurant, which is nestled in the historic Groot Constantia wine estate. Established in 1685, it is the Cape’s first winery and offers magnificent examples of Cape Dutch architecture and artefacts.

Next year’s ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress will be held in London, UK.