ICOMIA Conference in Dubai kickstarted with remarkable success attracting key international industry professionals

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The ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2021 (IWMC) held at The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai saw the participation of key industry leaders. Attracting international delegates including leading marina and yacht club operators, owners and vendors of marina infrastructure, along with related government representatives and industry experts.

The much-awaited debut conference in Dubai and the Middle East, hosted by ICOMIA and the UAE based Leisure Marine Association MENA (LMA), was supported by key players including the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, P&O Marinas as the lead sponsor and Dubai Tourism and D-Marin Dubai Harbour Marinas as main sponsors. The conference was sponsored by Emaar, Nakheel, Gulf Craft, Exalto Emirates, Navi Safe, Plus Marine, Alemco, Torqeedo, ATM, PivotRoots, IADYS, Poralu Marine, Homeport, and Seijsener.

Leading the success of the sector

The conference kickstarted with welcome remarks by Sara Anghel, President, ICOMIA; Martinho Fortunato, Chairman, ICOMIA Marinas Group; John W.R. Paul, Chairman, Leisure Marine Association MENA; Shirley Robertson, the Conference Moderator; Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Hamza Mustafa, COO, P&O Marinas.

Hamza Mustafa, COO, P&O Marinas said: “As one of the leading marinas operators in the UAE, P&O Marinas aims to bring together both national and international elites to work hand-in-hand for the growth of the local and global maritime industry and boating and yachting sector. Empowering the industry and realising its potential has been our primary goal and this can only be possible through networking opportunities provided by the events like IWMC which are integral to the leisure marine industry. The event not only attracts industry experts from across the globe, but also creates more opportunities in the sector. Since the event is being held at a crucial time with the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai, the event has witnessed high inbound traffic.”

Abeer Alshaali, Deputy Managing Director, Gulf Craft, highlighted, “IWMC has been instrumental in uniting the leisure boating community over the years and has year after year encouraged the development of the local and regional leisure marine tourism sector. Having been impacted by the pandemic, the leisure marine industry was in need of such events to increase collaborations between industry players, and drive the collective growth of the sector post-Covid. We are glad that we were able to be a part of the event that has not only connected industry professionals, but also facilitated great partnerships.”

Providing interactive platform for the marine industry

By successfully hosting the event in the UAE, LMA reaffirmed its support to marine industry businesses such as marina operators, boat builders, equipment suppliers, and service companies. The association provides marine professionals with a platform to network and discuss the developments in the regional leisure marine industry.

Sara Anghel explained, “The first day went above and beyond expectations. The Leisure Marine Association MENA brought together industry leaders to hear dynamic and insightful perspectives on marina development in today’s growing yet challenging economy, the need to step up on sustainability and what we have all learned coming out the other side of the pandemic. ICOMIA is extremely grateful for LMA’s leadership and commitment to growing the industry and the region and around the world”

John W.R. Paul, Chairman of The Leisure Marine Association MENA stated, “We could not be happier with how the conference turned out on the first day. It is exciting to see the global marina industry come together here in Dubai ready to tackle the challenges of the future. As LMA, we are proud to have been able to host the conference and it is a great first event for our young association as we continue to promote the interests of the local and regional marine industry while supporting our boating community. We are now looking forward to ensuring our active participation at the IWMC to help us in our efforts to lead the leisure marine sector’s sustainable growth.”

IWMC facilitated the growth of the leisure marine industry and united industry players in a secure environment, stimulating the UAE’s post-pandemic economic development. The conference highlighted the industry challenges and opportunities through its talks and panel discussions, which also focused on subjects like the future of the leisure boating industry, social and economic trends, and their impact on marinas, business opportunities in the marina industry, and also incorporated the real estate point of view in addition to the stakeholders’ expectations. Insightful sessions touched upon topics like the role of marinas for sustainable and resilient coastal and maritime tourism in the post-covid era, marinas and water sports integration, the transformation of commercial ports into nautical and leisure destinations, the operational and business aspects of marinas, and the role of marinas in empowering lifestyle and tourism.

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