Sustainability was the watchword at the World Marina Conference in Vilamoura

The three-day event was attended by over 350 delegates

«The perception about marinas has to change: it is not enough to try to be more sustainable, we have to be completely sustainable». This was one of the conclusions of the International Council of Marine Industry (ICOMIA) World Marina Conference that ended this Wednesday, October 11th, in Vilamoura. 

The words are from Darren Vaux, president of ICOMIA, who was responsible for summarizing the three days of the conference.

The conclusions point to the importance of technology, essential to improving the customer experience, as well as the ability to adapt, a fundamental facet as we move into the future.

Organized by the Portuguese Association of Recreational Ports (APPR), the three-day event was attended by more than 350 delegates from the international nautical community and included speakers, meetings, debates and forums related to best practices in the world of marinas. .

Speakers covered a wide range of topics, from culture, economics and marketing to advice of specific commercial interest on issues such as financing, communications, regulation and taxation.

Nuno Madeira, from Turismo de Portugal, highlighted the strong growth that has occurred in the tourism industry in Portugal, highlighting the great investment opportunities in the country, including in the nautical sector.

The technology available to make marina operations more efficient and, at the same time, provide a better customer experience, was one of the main topics discussed.

The concept of Smart Marinas was widely discussed, with the conclusion that, although technology is a great enabler, it does not replace the people who provide exceptional customer experiences.

The second area of ​​focus was on how innovations in technology and sustainability are helping to drive growth and preserve the industry.

The final speech of the conference, by Richard Bush, a recognized Australian expert in the field of environment and sustainability, presented an insightful view of developments in the Red Sea and, in particular, NEOM's ambitious plans to build a marina ecosystem of the future, completely sustainable and without any hindrance from outdated infrastructures or ways of working.

At the end, the conference organizers, Isolete Correia, from APPR, and Martinho Fortunato, from Marina de Lagos, thanked the delegates, from more than forty countries on all continents, for their presence.

Martinho Fortunato highlighted the need for change towards sustainability, stating «the ocean is our world and it is at risk. Let's contribute to a better ocean».

In the end, they passed the testimony to Venice, where the next World Marina Conference will take place in 2025.