HISWA Holland Marine says growth was led by boat rentals over the summer period

HISWA MD Geert Dijks

HISWA’s Geert Dijks says members are optimistic about 2019

Citing a long hot summer, HISWA Holland Marine says the Dutch boating sector’s 2018 turnover rose by 4.8% over the previous year. Rentals led the pack with a 10% turnover rise, followed by 7% growth for new-boat sales.

A recent survey by the Dutch trade lobby found most of its 800 member companies to be upbeat about 2019.

HISWA director Geert Dijks says: “In 2018, the long-awaited growth in boat rentals really took off and active watersports – like SUPing and kite surfing – gained popularity.”

HISWA’s ‘grow boating’ campaign – part of a global effort to offset the greying of sailors and deal with shifting holidaying patterns – “will bring more people out on the water in the years ahead,” says Dijks.

Such is the impact of demographics and new ways of holidaying that HISWA will merge in 2019 with the Netherlands’ overall tourism industry lobby so it can cast its net wider.

The boating sector’s positive results of 2018 contrast with 2017 when Dutch marinas, boatbuilders and service companies saw turnover slip. By now, marina occupancy rates have stabilised and most HISWA members “are optimistic about 2019,” says Dijks. “Three quarters even expect a repeat of 2018 or better.”

HISWA also reports that:

  • Good times put the labour market under pressure, making it tough to find skilled personnel
  • Many HISWA members use the good times to embrace innovation to preserve or grow market share
  • Pre-owned craft are selling faster, keeping prices stable. Brokers say sales of moderately maintained pre-owned vessels are not easy to complete