Displaying items by tag: COVID19

1. Context

The boating industry (production of boats, equipment, trade, services) and nautical tourism sector (marinas, boat charter/hire in coastal and inland waters, water sports) is made up of 32,000 companies, over 95% of which are SMEs. They employ 280,000 people directly with thousands more along the supply chains. European regions that are coastal, peripheral, islands as well as those with inland waterways and lakes largely rely on the industry. Around 48 million EU citizens regularly enjoy boating and waters ports, making it an attractive leisure pursuit.

As the impact of COVID-19 has been substantial with production sites temporarily closing or reducing their output and tourism activities severely impacted by restrictions and border closures, this paper

1. provides concrete recommendations for policymakers to support the survival of SMEs

2. presents valuable opportunities for a green and digital recovery, while supporting sustainable tourism, and

3. proposes to reduce bureaucracy for a fast-track recovery of the sector.


Coastal, maritime and inland waterway tourism, […] is present is many EU regions and is creating innovative, localised tourism offers for off-season business and recreation opportunities.” - Commission Communication on Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond


Impact from COVID-19 is particularly high due to the seasonal nature of the sector and a short period of positive cash flow. According to EBI estimates, the revenue losses for 2020 could be up to 50% for parts of the ecosystem at European level, with variations between countries. This was also acknowledged by the European Commission in its proposal for the EU-wide recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, outlining that tourism is one of the hardest hit sectors. The European Commission indicated that tourism could see at least a 70% drop in turnover in the second quarter of 2020 and estimates that 161 billion euros is needed in direct investment in tourism. Additionally, the effect of GDP and consumer confidence decline will also have an impact in the coming years that needs to be anticipated.

European Boating Industry (EBI) as the voice of the industry in Europe welcomes the European Commission’s recovery plan Next Generation EU. With this paper, the sector would like to emphasise its particularities that should be considered and present opportunities for a green and digital recovery and outline the sector’s contribution to support a more sustainable tourism.

2. Green and digital transition

Given the importance of a pristine marine environment for boating and its attractiveness, the sector has developed a proactive approach to environmental sustainability. This is a good basis for further investment to green a sector that offers consumers the opportunity to experience and understand the value of the environment. On the digital transition, there is still substantial scope to integrate key trends such as connectivity, digital infrastructure and the Internet of Things, as well as platforms to automatise customer interaction that is crucial in the context of COVID-19. A well-managed recovery can also address over-tourism with nautical tourism contributing to a move from mass tourism to sustainable tourism. This is a key contribution to a sustainable development of the blue economy. Nautical tourism holds added value in the context of COVID-19 given the relative ease of implementing social distancing rules and the development of increasingly popular regional tourism opportunities.


The Commission will promote a transition toward a more sustainable model of coastal and maritime tourism, as part of its strategic approach for a sustainable blue economy.” - Commission Communication on Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond


Given the large proportion of SMEs in the industry and the expected drop in investment, simple and ready-to-use recovery investment is needed. Investment in nautical tourism infrastructure presents challenges, due to the financial sector’s reluctance to invest in the sector, worsened by the current long process for obtaining permits (>5 years). In areas with sufficient infrastructure, the focus should be on renovating rather than building new infrastructure.

Green transition

  • Investment support for renovation and environmental transformation of marinas through renewable energy installations (such as wind, tidal, solar), for electricity needs of marinas and charging of increasing number of electric boats, car parks and shore power, power storage, circular approach to waste disposal and the use of water through small-scale local desalination plants
  • Adaptation of marinas to the impacts of climate change and the expected increase in extreme weather through investment in a more resilient infrastructure
  • Development and renovation of local and regional nautical tourism infrastructure in coastal areas and on inland waterways (marinas, docks, locks, waterways)
  • Roll-out of eco-friendly permanent mooring solutions in marine protected areas and areas of high ecological value as alternatives to anchoring and existing permanent mooring solutions
  • Research and innovation investment: circular economy, recycling of existing boat building materials, use of new materials (including bio-based), low-emission engines and alternatives (electric, hybrid, hydrogen)

Marina certification: There are several renowned “clean marina” schemes, such as Blue Flag, Gold Anchor, Blue Star Marina. In France, for instance, the "Clean Harbour Guidelines" provide such a certification. By January 2019, more than 90% of marinas in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur were committed to its certification process.


Digital transition

  • Digital transformation of marinas through roll-out of 5G, Wi-Fi and digital infrastructure allowing for connected boating, smart marinas, improved land-sea connectivity, Internet of Things, digital connectivity and automatised customer interaction technology
  • Research and innovation investment: connected boats, autonomous boats, and improvement of on-board safety, citizen science, smart marinas
  • Investigation and pilot projects between universities, research institutions and marinas as means to develop new projects in close connection with experts (equally valuable for environmental transformation)

A shift towards sustainable tourism

  • Diversification of nautical tourism offer through schemes decreasing seasonality, attracting new audiences and removal of barriers
  • Promotion of regional and European nautical tourism through dedicated campaigns at EU level in cooperation with stakeholders targeting new audiences

This needs to be accompanied by a dedicated approach to develop skills and career pathways for all areas of the nautical tourism and boating industry at EU and national level. Schools, universities, and vocational training institutes should be incentivised and financially supported to provide training and support careers in the industry.

Investment, in particular for infrastructure requires a swift approval process. We therefore propose the creation of a ‘marine fast track’ at national level for approval of projects and permits with clear timelines and procedures.


Value of marina investmentCoastal and inland marinas, of which there are over 6,000 in Europe, are intrinsically linked to the local economy and tourist offer. Boaters visiting marinas provide income for local economies, restaurants, and shops. It is estimated that for every 25 berths, one direct job is created and for every 4 berths one indirect job is created. The average expenditure per pleasure boat is estimated at 6000€ per year. Around 2/3 of benefits go to local or national activities.


3. EU Recovery Plan

To ensure that the green and digital transition can realise its potential for the boating and nautical tourism industry, a number of cross-cutting recommendations are included below based on the various elements of the EU Recovery Plan:

1. Specific recognition and support for investment needs of the boating and nautical tourism industry within national recovery plans and EU funding schemes as set out above

2. Provide a better differentiation between maritime transport and recreational boating in terms of infrastructure investment needs, demands and resources (e.g. differences between commercial port and marina for recreational boats)

3. Recognise the role and potential of nautical tourism for the economic development of regions through cohesion funding, including those previously reliant on the production of fossil fuels

4. Development of concrete investment priorities for individual sub-sectors of the tourism and maritime ecosystems at EU level

5. Implementation of a dedicated budget line for tourism in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework as requested by the European Parliament

6. New support through recovery funds should be combined with existing funds at EU and national level that should be prioritised accordingly

7. Development of guidelines for companies to access funding schemes at national and EU level under the EU Recovery Plan


The role of nautical tourism in regional transformation: There are several successful examples of open-pit mines being turned into lakes and developed for nautical tourism. The Lusatian Lake District in Eastern Germany is based on decommissioned lignite opencast mines that were turned into a lake district with more than 20 lakes and canals over the past years. Many nautical tourism activities now exist in this new tourism region, such as marinas, recreational fishing, water sports and sailing. This is intrinsically connected to the wider economic development of the region and regional tourism offer.


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Tuesday, 02 June 2020 07:59

European Commission Spring Economic Forecast

The European Commission published its Spring economic forecast on 6 May, the first one to fully consider the impact of COVID-19. It provides a forecast at European level, for EU countries, candidate countries and certain other non-EU countries. It concludes that the impact of COVID-19 will affect all countries, even if at different levels. The same is the case for the speed of the recovery expected in 2021. Below the key indicators for the EU and Euro area.

  • The Euro area economy will contract by 7.75% in 2020 and grow by 6,25% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7.5% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021.
  • The unemployment rate in the Euro area will rise from 7.5% in 2019 to 9.5% in 2020 before reducing to 8.5% in 2021. In the EU, it will rise from 6.7% in 2019 to 9% in 2020 and then reduce to around 8% in 2021.
  • Inflation in the Euro area (measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices), is forecast at 0.2% in 2020 and 1.1% in 2021. For the EU, inflation is forecast at 0.6% in 2020 and 1.3% in 2021.

The forecast is based on a set of assumptions about the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and containment measures. It assumes that restrictions will be gradually lifted from May. The full forecast and country-specific information can be found here.

Published in Newsletter May 2020

Untitled 6European Boating Industry (EBI) joined a strategic dialogue with EU Commissioner for Industry and Internal Market Thierry Breton on the recovery of the maritime sector following COVID-19. EBI presented the impacts of COVID-19 on the recreational boating industry and the opportunities to lift the sector from the crisis through measures at EU level. The other maritime sector stakeholders represented were ship builders, maritime equipment producers and ship owners.

The meeting allowed EBI to present the recreational boating industry at the highest political level of the European Commission. EBI raised the strategic importance of Europe as the number one region for the production and export of recreational boats and nautical tourism. The sector offers a success story of European manufacturing with several industrial champions and a vibrant tourism sector. The entire industry consists of 32,000 companies of which the majority are SMEs and employs 280,000 people.

The meeting came on day after the European Commission presented its long-awaited proposal for the EU recovery plan with an unprecedented €750 billion recovery fund. It identified the tourism and maritime mobility sector as key areas for investment by the EU and Member States in the recovery period. During the meeting, Commissioner Breton highlighted the importance of the maritime industry ecosystem for Europe’s economy and recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. In his view, the industry has a crucial role to play for a digital and green recovery where public investment will play a substantial role.

EBI echoed the calls first made in the joint policy paper of 20 boating industry associations in Europe in mid-April (see here). This consists of a coordinated opening of borders for travellers, navigation, supply chains and tourism in the short-term under strict health and safety conditions. This needs to be followed up by stimulating consumer demand through promotion of European tourism. Furthermore, the EU’s Recovery Plan should play a strong role in investment and focus on the environmental and digital transformation of the boating industry.

The other participants in the meeting represented ship builders (SEA Europe, Fincantieri, Meyer Werft), maritime equipment manufacturers (ECA Group) and ship owners (Vroon Group).

Published in Newsletter May 2020

On 13 May the European Commission presented a package of measures to support the tourism industry in the COVID-19 crisis and start the summer season (see here). It encourages consumers to take advantage of the summer tourism season and help the EU tourism sector recover. It includes an overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond, a gradual lifting of border restrictions, re-establishment of transport links, criteria for restoring tourism activities and health protocols, as well as a recommendation on vouchers as alternatives to reimbursement . These guidelines and recommendations are provided to EU countries and companies for implementation.

Throughout these measures, the Commission recognises the importance of on-water recreation, and the maritime and inland waterway tourism industry. At several points, it highlights that leisure boating should not fall under a general prohibition but be allowed following a risk-based approach and implementing specific procedures, such as regular cleaning and disinfection. EU countries should lift restrictions for leisure boating based on specific health and safety protocols. The Commission specifically mentions marinas and resuming activity in these under strict health and safety conditions. The Commission recognises that domestic and intra-EU tourism will be increasingly popular and should be promoted. It sees a strong role for maritime and inland waterway tourism in this.

The announcement from the European Commission comes after many weeks of advocacy activities and dozens of virtual meetings by EBI with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and other members of the EU institutions. Advocacy actions were based on the joint policy paper that 19 European boating industry associations and EBI signed in early April (see here). This unity has been key to advocacy. Several boating industry associations have also prepared guidelines to facilitate the application of social distancing rules and all applicable health and safety requirements.

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector of which EBI is a member, has issued a statement on the European Commission’s Tourism package. It highlights that the package represents a first and important step to facilitate travel and tourism in Europe, support the sector’s recovery from the crisis and enable a more sustainable tourism ecosystem in the future. It calls for a swift implementation and further measures to ensure that the tourism industry can restart and recover. The full statement can be found here.

Published in Newsletter May 2020

Maritime sector strategic dialogue European Boating Industry (EBI) joined a strategic dialogue with EU Commissioner for Industry and Internal Market Thierry Breton on the recovery of the maritime sector following COVID-19. EBI presented the impacts of COVID-19 on the recreational boating industry and the opportunities to lift the sector from the crisis through measures at EU level. The other maritime sector stakeholders represented were ship builders, maritime equipment producers and ship owners.

The meeting allowed EBI to present the recreational boating industry at the highest political level of the European Commission. EBI raised the strategic importance of Europe as the number one region for the production and export of recreational boats and for nautical tourism. The sector offers a success story of European manufacturing with several industrial champions and a vibrant tourism sector. The entire industry consists of 32,000 companies of which the majority are SMEs and employs 280,000 people.

The meeting came on day after the European Commission presented its long-awaited proposal for the EU recovery plan with an unprecedented €750 billion recovery fund. It identified the tourism and maritime mobility sector as key areas for investment by the EU and Member States in the recovery period. During the meeting, Commissioner Breton highlighted the importance of the maritime industry ecosystem for Europe’s economy and recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. In his view, the industry has a crucial role to play for a digital and green recovery where public investment will play a substantial role.

EBI echoed the calls first made in the joint policy paper of 20 boating industry associations in Europe in mid-April . This consists of a coordinated opening of borders for travellers, navigation, supply chains and tourism in the short-term under strict health and safety conditions. This needs to be followed up by stimulating consumer demand through promotion of European tourism. Furthermore, the EU’s Recovery Plan should play a strong role in investment and focus on the environmental and digital transformation of the boating industry.

EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill, who represented EBI during the meeting, commented “Being a part of the dialogue with Commissioner Breton shows the strategic importance of our industry for the maritime and tourism ecosystems. COVID-19 will have a substantial impact on our industry, and it is crucial that this is taken into account for the recovery plans of the EU and Member States. Investment in the promotion of European nautical tourism and a green and digital transition of the boating industry is needed. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with Commissioner Breton.”

The other participants in the meeting represented ship builders (SEA Europe, Fincantieri, Meyer Werft), maritime equipment manufacturers (ECA Group) and ship owners (Vroon Group).

Published in Latest News

On 13 May, the European Commission presented a package of measures to support the tourism industry in the COVID-19 crisis and start the summer season. Many measures that formed the European boating industry’s joint call that EBI has advocated for, have been taken up. The European Commission recognises on-water recreation and nautical tourism as a key part of Europe’s tourism industry, recovery period and ready to restart following health and safety protocols.

The European Commission presented a package of guidelines and recommendations to gradually open borders and allow tourism businesses to restart while respecting health and safety measures. It encourages consumers to take advantage of the summer tourism season and help the EU tourism sector recover. It includes an overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond, a gradual lifting of border restrictions, re-establishment of transport links, criteria for restoring tourism activities and health protocols, as well as a recommendation on vouchers as alternatives to reimbursement. These guidelines and recommendations are provided to EU countries and companies for implementation.

Throughout these measures, the Commission recognises the importance of on-water recreation, and the maritime and inland waterway tourism industry. At several points, it highlights that leisure boating should not fall under a general prohibition but be allowed following a risk-based approach and implementing specific procedures, such as regular cleaning and disinfection. EU countries should lift restrictions for leisure boating based on specific health and safety protocols. The Commission specifically mentions marinas and resuming activity in these under strict health and safety conditions. The Commission recognises that domestic and intra-EU tourism will be increasingly popular and should be promoted. It sees a strong role for maritime and inland waterway tourism in this.

The announcement from the European Commission comes after many weeks of advocacy activities and dozens of virtual meetings by EBI with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and other members of the EU institutions. Advocacy actions were based on the joint policy paper that 19 European boating industry associations and EBI signed in early April (Link). This unity has been key to advocacy. Several boating industry associations have also prepared guidelines to facilitate the application of social distancing rules and all applicable health and safety requirements.

European Boating Industry Secretary-General Philip Easthill commented “We are a fundamentally European industry. Boating relies on open borders between countries for navigation, holiday travel and supply chains. We support the measures announced by the European Commission to gradually reopen borders and swiftly restart nautical tourism and support recovery in our sector. We have been advocating for many of these measures since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so. Taking the European Commission’s risk-based approach, the conditions are in place for boating, boat charter, marinas and its infrastructure to swiftly reopen under strict health and safety rules across Europe."

When it comes to the introduction of vouchers as alternatives for reimbursement, we urge EU countries to include individual tourism activities in their scope. Nautical tourism activities, such as boat charter, must be a part of this to ensure a level playing field in the tourism industry. National and eventually a European guarantee fund could help protect consumers and support companies’ liquidity at a critical time."

EBI will continue its advocacy to ensure that the boating industry continues to be recognised and address the key issues in the COVID-19 crisis. EBI is also providing resources on the measures taken at EU-level regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. These can be found here.

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The full information on the Tourism Package can be found on the website of the European Commission.

Published in Latest News

In a sign of unity, Europe’s boating industry associations jointly call on the EU institutions and national governments to support the sector and protect jobs against the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The call for action, co-signed by 20 associations, calls for swift measures to help companies survive the immediate crisis and actions to support recovery and stimulate demand.

The signatories call for concrete and swift measures to support the 32,000 companies and 280,000 jobs in the industry. It underlines that most companies in the sector are SMEs. Their economic contribution is particularly felt in coastal and peripheral regions, as well as along inland waters.

The paper calls for support to the industry through assistance programmes, introduction of a voucher scheme for tourism activities, open borders for goods and deliveries, as well as a risk-based approach to restarting of marinas, production and tourism activities in anticipation of the summer season. Following the lifting of restrictions, rebuilding consumer confidence and supporting recovery will be crucial. The paper likewise suggests concrete actions for this.

EBI will spearhead the advocacy efforts and take the policy paper into discussions with the EU institutions. EBI is also a member of the Tourism Manifesto Coalition, the voice of the tourism industry at European level. It also demands urgent supportive measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the entire tourism industry.

Companies in the industry have shown solidarity by donating Personal Protective Equipment to frontline medical staff and changed production to urgently required material. All boating industry associations in Europe are engaged in supporting their members to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, EBI and its sister association, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), are closely working together and providing synergies for their activities. ICOMIA is leading the global response and developing best practices for the restart of activities.

The full paper can be found here. It was signed by: Nautibel (Belgium), APL (Czech Republic), Croatian Employers Association - Nautical sector (Croatia), Croatian Boating Industry Association (Croatia), Skib & Båd (Denmark), Association of Estonian Marine Industries (Estonia), European Boating Industry, Finnboat (Finland), Fédération des Industries Nautiques (France), Deutscher Boots- und Schiffbauer-Verband e.V. (Germany), Bundesverband Wassersportwirtschaft e.V. (Germany), Irish Marine Federation (Ireland), Confindustria Nautica (Italy), HISWA-RECRON (The Netherlands), Hungarian Marine Industry Federation (Hungary), POLBOAT (Poland), Slovenian Marine Industry Association (Slovenia), Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas (Spain), SweBoat (Sweden), Schweizerischer Bootbauer-Verband (Switzerland).

Published in Newsletter April 2020
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In a sign of unity, Europe’s boating industry associations jointly call on the EU institutions and national governments to support the sector and protect jobs against the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The call for action, co-signed by 18 associations, calls for swift measures to help companies survive the immediate crisis and actions to support recovery and stimulate demand.

The signatories call for concrete and swift measures to support the 32,000 companies and 280,000 jobs in the industry. It underlines that most companies in the sector are SMEs. Their economic contribution is particularly felt in coastal and peripheral regions, as well as along inland waters.

The paper calls for support to the industry through assistance programmes, introduction of a voucher scheme for tourism activities, open borders for goods and deliveries, as well as a risk-based approach to restarting of marinas, production and tourism activities in anticipation of the summer season. Following the lifting of restrictions, rebuilding consumer confidence and supporting recovery will be crucial. The paper likewise suggests concrete actions for this.

EBI will spearhead the advocacy efforts and take the policy paper into discussions with the EU institutions. EBI is also a member of the Tourism Manifesto Coalition, the voice of the tourism industry at European level. It also demands urgent supportive measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the entire tourism industry.

Companies in the industry have shown solidarity by donating Personal Protective Equipment to frontline medical staff and changed production to urgently required material. All boating industry associations in Europe are engaged in supporting their members to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, EBI and its sister association, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), are closely working together and providing synergies for their activities. ICOMIA is leading the global response and developing best practices for the restart of activities.

The full paper can be found here. It was signed by: Nautibel (Belgium), Croatian Employers Association - Nautical sector (Croatia), Croatian Boating Industry Association (Croatia), Association of Estonian Marine Industries (Estonia), European Boating Industry, Finnboat (Finland), Fédération des Industries Nautiques (France), Deutscher Boots- und Schiffbauer-Verband e.V. (Germany), Bundesverband Wassersportwirtschaft e.V. (Germany), Irish Marine Federation (Ireland), Confindustria Nautica (Italy), HISWA-RECRON (The Netherlands), Hungarian Marine Industry Federation (Hungary), POLBOAT (Poland), Slovenian Marine Industry Association (Slovenia), Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas (Spain), SweBoat (Sweden), Schweizerischer Bootbauer-Verband (Switzerland).

EBI is also providing resources on the measures taken at EU-level regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. These can be found here.

Update (14 April 2020): APL, the Czech Boating Industry Association has joined as 19th co-signatory of the policy paper.

Update (15 April 2020): Skib & Båd, the Danish Boating Industry Association has joined as 20th co-signatory of the policy paper.

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