The 2018 ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress ended on a high note with a festive gala evening in a stunning setting at the historic home of the Lake Wannsee sailing club after an intense programme of meetings, presentations, workshops and social events in Germany’s capital Berlin which was bathed in glorious sunshine throughout.
This year’s congress was organised by IMCI (International Marine Certification Institute) who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and took place at the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm, probably Berlin’s most famous and elegant boulevard and one of the best places in the city for a dose of retail therapy. IMCI left nothing to chance in the preparation of this year’s congress and the result was an event which was as efficient and professional as it was enjoyable.
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, gave a heartfelt and inspirational talk on his worries and hopes for the future of the marine leisure industry voicing, in particular, 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.
It is impossible for a gathering like the ICOMIA/IFBSO Congress not to discuss environmental issues. Whilst some boat show organisers have already implemented a zero plastic policy at their shows, thus banning the use of plastic drink bottles, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, or similar, it was felt that boat show organisers are in a unique position to act as trail blazers for the industry and encourage initiatives to curb the pollution of the world’s oceans, lakes and waterways. Accordingly, IFBSO member shows have 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 follow.
A boat cruise along the river Spree provided a much-valued opportunity to see some of the unique scenery at the heart of Berlin and learn a little about its long and colourful history whilst enjoying a few hours of sparkling sunshine and chatting with industry colleagues.
Following the election at the AGM on 8th June 2018, the officers and members serving on the IFBSO Executive Committee for the period 2018-2019, are as follows:
- 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 musical performances and a lively dance session as well as 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 which will take place from 4th – 7th June in Split in Croatia and will be hosted by the Croatian Boating Industry Association.