Yachting and other water-based recreational activities experienced a big change since Covid
Covid and the war in Ukraine changed the world. It also effects the entire water sports industry: yachting, marinas, surfing and other water-based recreational activities. Before Covid, countries with a strong nautical history, such as the Netherlands and the UK, experienced drops in the number of boats.
This could be explained by the effects of the financial crisis in 2008, the baby boom-effect and aging of boat owners and cheap airline tickets to sunny destinations around the world. Due to Covid and the war in Ukraine this all changed. People travel less and rediscovered the advantages of yachting and the save ‘bubble’ of a boat. Many old and new water sports were confronted with a sudden and explosive growth. Windsurfing, kite and wave surfing, supping and sportfishing, but also rentals and sailing schools experienced a long time high. Nowadays it is hard to find a good or recent second-hand boat and yacht builders try to make up for the shortage.
For a long time the water sports industry failed in attracting young people. The image of water sports as a "slow" activity needed to change in order to compete with the attractive power of ‘party destinations’. To change its image, the industry needed to build a programme around water sports that is interesting to travellers and helps water sports stand out amongst all choices on offer for Europeans and others tourists around the world.
WA Yachting Consultants along with its Waterfronts NL partners put together a strategy to help the water sports industry adapt to these changes. The strategy explored market trends for the travel industry, and applied these to the water sports industry. The strategy included specific building blocks which companies can tailor to their local circumstances. It provided a SWOT analysis of how six specific locations in northwest Europe and the UK could apply these learning’s.
Emerging markets in the Far and Middle East were bucking this trend, with water sports on the rise. Waterfronts NL partners Royal HaskoningDHV and WA Yachting Consultants have been drawing up Yachting Masterplans for multiple provinces along the Chinese coast, from Dalian down to Shenzhen. Also a 10 km waterfront development in Abu Dhabi and a proposal for a new marina and cruise port in Walvis Bay, Namibia. WA Yachting Consultants recently explored the marine and yachting industry opportunities in Jeju Island, Korea. The integrated and cooperative approach of sharing knowledge and working together with our clients can deliver creative solutions across all sorts of yachting industry needs. It is our business to adapt and develop new strategies.