Federturismo Confindustria, UCINA and Assomarinas are back for this year’s edition of the Genoa International Boat Show, with the sixth National Coastal and Maritime Tourism Conference, to analyse current market trends for marina services and to point bring to the new Government’s attention the issues that are crucial for the entire industry and which are still unresolved, issues such as the increase in public fees and the Bolkestein matter.

Piero Formenti, Vice President of UCINA (the Italian Marine Industry Association), opened the conference greeting the event’s participants and audience: “Boating tourism is not just important for coastal economies, it is fundamental for our shipyards. We need to carry on working towards our objective of bringing clients from across the world closer to us, so that they are welcomed onto our shores, so that they can enjoy our territories, our culture and our products of the highest quality.”

We chose Genoa, the capital of yachting – stated pro-tempore Vice President of Federturismo Confindustria Marina Lalli to emphasise how the “blue economy” over the past years has provided development dynamics that have been much greater than those of the Italian economy as a whole and how, in view of intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth, it is of fundamental importance that we promote marine policies that are integrated. The boating industry, following a period of crisis, has recovered. Yet, in order to get investment going again, we need greater levels of clarity, as soon as possible, when it comes to the complex regulatory dynamics concerning the retroactive increase in public fees”.

Over the past four years we have witnessed a slow recovery of 10% of marina business, in 2019 transits increased by 2% even though there is still a discrepancy between available and upcoming berths and registered boats being produced – underlined the President of Assomarinas Roberto Perocchio -. “However, beyond emphasising a number of recovery signals today’s conference is also an opportunity to call for the Government’s attention, in view of the Budget Law, to the issue concerning public maritime concessions and their relationship with European regulations which have so far been implemented in a distorted manner, along with the Bolkestein exclusion matter regarding seaside businesses, marinas and boating with regards to saving our current and future investments”.

Gianni Pietro Girotto, President of the Italian Senate’s Committee for Industry, Commerce and Tourism: “There are urgent matters that need to be solved, such as that concerning the Bolkestein directive, so we need immediate responses, through implementation decrees from the Government, and situations which from problems can become opportunities, such as the issue concerning a circular economy. I am referring to the recovery of second-hand raw materials, which can bring about not just environmental benefits but an economic advantage as well. And speaking of opportunities, spread-out tourism is another enormous source of potential we as a country can count on, an extension of the Italian coast line. Overcoming the large cruise ship model and few docking areas would allow for a more sustainable form of tourism with a much broader distribution of wealth.”

Speakers at the conference included Marco Campomenosi, European Parliament Member, Roberto Traversi, Undersecretary to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and Prof. Stefano Zunarelli, tenured professor from the University of Bologna and leading expert in transport and sailing law.

The Breitling Theatre hosted the Legambiente Pelagos Plastic Free Conference, which illustrated the project carried out alongside the French Association Expédition MED, founded in view of the need for a reduction in marine plastic pollution and for the protection of a number of whale species that live in the Pelagos Sanctuary.

We carried out scientific monitoring in order to record the presence of plastic in the National Whale Sanctuary, because the problem is not only damaging the oceans, it’s also affecting the Mediterranean, as our report demonstrates – stated Stefano Ciafani, President of LegambienteThese observations are needed to learn and then take action to fight the problem. With this project we were also able to list all of the actions that various operators – the Government, Parliament, local institutions and associations, packaging and plastic item producers – can take to contribute to solving this very serious issue”.

Among the speakers was Andrea Razeto, Vice President of UCINA who illustrated the Association’s activities with regards to environmental sustainability.

Today we are discussing game-changing forms of behaviour to follow at sea – and for the sea – that recreational boating enthusiasts can adopt in order to preserve this resource for future generations – commented Razeto – UCINA has always been active on this front. Alongside Legambiente our joint initiatives date back ten years, including the publication of the Manual for Good Sailing. Today we are presenting the campaign “La mia Barca è Plastic Free” (“My boat is plastic-free”) aimed at raising the awareness of our users”.

Over the past decade we have taken enormous steps forward. A drastic reduction in gaseous emissions and motor noise, still to undergo future implementations. Hull designs that reduce drag thus reducing consumption. The use of infusion techniques for laminating vessels, which reduces significantly the application of resin.

However, UCINA’s commitment is even broader – continued Andrea Razeto – and it concerns the reduction of plastic components in construction as well. And for a while now we have been working on the ELB Project – End Life Boat – aimed at recycling fiberglass”.

The morning also saw the Genoa International Boat Show host a visit from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ambassador to Italy, Slawko Matanović, welcomed by President of UCINA Saverio Cecchi. “I am truly impressed by this Boat Show: an event that showcases an enormous range of products from the entire boating industry” – commented the Ambassador when discussing the Genoa Boat Show.

Also visiting the Genoa International Boat Show was European Parliament Member, the Honourable Tiziana Beghin, who stated: “The Genoa Boat Show, for someone like myself who was born in Genoa, is a hugely emotional event, representing a great opportunity for the city of Genoa. As a member of institutions I can only hope that all civic institutions give the right amount of support to this world-class Italian showcase.”