BM: Industry buoyant, but concerns for future
NATIONAL boating industry body British Marine has reported the sixth successive year of growth for the sector, but still has concerns about ensuring that boating business continues to meet the needs of current and future customers.
The first of two new reports, compiled from a survey of member companies, reveals that overall revenue grew 3.4 percent in 2017, supporting 33,000 jobs. Holiday hire and other boating tourism showed the biggest growth with 60 percent of operators reporting increased business, which BM believes is a result of the fall in the value of the pound following the EU vote, making foreign holidays more expensive.
At the same time, those contributing to the report commented on the need to find “a younger demographic to canal holidays”, with an annual increase in holidaymakers’ age which “obviously isn’t sustainable”. And this leads on to the second report, which is the first stage in a ‘Futures’ strategy.
BM believes long-term participation in boating is declining with fewer younger or new participants. In particular, “new generations don’t want the commitment of owning a boat”; people are “too busy” for outdoor activities; “pay-as-you-go, easy booking and buying” are what people want – and BM aims to address these in a strategy to reverse the trend. However while traditional motor and sail boating are in decline, the report says that canal boating is one area that’s still on the up.