European Boating Industry was invited to participate at a public hearing within the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism presided over by the Chair of the Committee, Mrs Karima Delli (France, Green Parliamentary Group) and gathered some of the most relevant experts from on-water tourism and recreational boating. EBI was invited as the European association representing the interests of the industry.
The European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee held a public hearing on the advancement of on-water recreation and tourism. As the representative association of the European sector, EBI spoke at the hearing. The public hearing was a first for the boating industry and opens a new door to the highest European political level.
Philip Easthill, Secretary General of European Boating Industry, introduced EBI to the Members of the European Parliament and informed them about the situation of the sector in the European Union. He addressed the main issues that make the recreational boating sector one of Europe's hidden champions, while presenting a number of measures needed to take advantage of this thriving European industry. He said:
“This meeting and the measures we are proposing offer the opportunity to support a thriving European sector, champion on manufacturing and exports Made in Europe that has been identified by the Commission as an area with potential to foster a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. Our sector offers an accessible activity, which we are seeing attracting new generations and sectors of society to enjoy boating for the first time”
During the hearing, Philip Easthill issued three calls to action: Inclusion of nautical tourism and boating recreation in the EU’s Tourism Policy; Supporting transition and comprehensive approach to decarbonisation of the recreational boating industry in review of EU Recreational Craft Directive and additional measures; Recognition of boating and nautical tourism industry as key sectors for European economy and support at EU level to benefit of potential growth.
Roberto Perocchio, President of Assomarinas, presented the situation of marinas in Europe and their demands, including the need for a common European approach; George Vernicos, Member and Honorary President of the Board of the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association, addressed the future of the charter sector, which looks very promising with the potential to gain even more importance within the European tourism landscape. Nicolas Delaporte, Head of the Tourism division of Voies Navigables de France, presented inland navigation and the type of activities and tourist profiles it brings to destinations, which generates benefits that go beyond the water.
The general tone of the following debate with MEPs, was the desire to promote a more sustainable and beneficial tourism for local communities. Experts underlined the reality of the recreational boating sector, an industry in which stakeholders are making real efforts to generate an even more positive effect on the environment and the communities they impact. Furthermore, MEPs raised specific issues, including climate change adaptation, clean propulsion, access of the industry to EU funds, as well as the concerns on the negative perception of super yachts’ impact.
For the recording of the public hearing, please click here and advance until the minute 15:51.
For pictures, presentations, and speeches, please click here