The AGM of the Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA) took place recently at the end of another successful season. The news from around the coast is that visitor numbers are excellent with Irish marinas attracting large numbers of boats from Britain, France and Norway in particular. Superyachts continue to see Ireland as a new and exciting destination as well as smaller cruising boats from all over the world. Some marinas are filling up again with demand being seen for larger berths in particular. Marina operators are also investing significant sums to upgrade and improve the existing facilities.
On the marketing front, the recent Southampton Boat Show was a success for a number of members who exhibited there. There is an appetite to market Ireland as a marine leisure destination and it is hoped that further marketing in the UK can be carried out.
The topic of dredging was discussed at length and the members aired their frustration at the drawn-out process to receive permission to carry out maintenance works. Similarly it was disappointing to hear that there is still no movement on the Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill 2013. The lack of progress on this front is potentially damaging for the industry as a whole.
Finally, it was agreed by all members that there is a change in the outlook of customers/boat owners and a more positive attitude is evident right around the coast.