NMMA Encourages International Ties with Colombia’s Growing Recreational Boating Market Following July Visit

CHICAGO, August 20, 2013 – Last month, NMMA president Thom Dammrich and Export Director, Julie Balzano, together with the U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) and Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA), embarked on a site visit to Colombia to explore its recreational boating industry and marine resources and seek potential business opportunities for NMMA members. With Colombia’s steady economic development and recent Free Trade agreement, the nation, which is the fourth largest economy in Latin America with the third largest population of 46 million, is primed for international growth and a thriving boating industry. Plans are already underway to host a U.S.A. Pavilion at the next Cartagena Boat Show, scheduled for March 22-24, 2014 at the Cartagena Convention Center in Cartagena, Colombia.
 “Colombia offers a variety of water access points with two major sea coasts bordering the country and a promising infrastructure for a growing marine industry,” said NMMA President, Thom Dammrich. “The trip gave the NMMA a chance to learn about everything Colombia is doing to build a solid foundation for its growing nautical tourism industry – an industry with the potential to offer significant opportunities for our members.”
“Colombia now ranks as our 26th most important export market for recreational boats and engines made in the U.S., showing a very slight increase YTD over 2012. U.S. boat builders benefit from preferential currency exchange rates, along with a Free Trade Agreement, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect to engage with this market,” noted NMMA Export Director, Julie Balzano. “Colombia’s close geographic proximity to the United States, boating-oriented culture, and current trading status – the U.S. is Colombia’s number one trading partner – are even more reason for U.S. boat builders to explore this country.”
The visit was hosted by ProExport, Colombia’s public-private tourism and export organization, and guided by the government’s comprehensive feasibility study on nautical tourism. While in Colombia, the group toured four essential boating sites in Colombia, beginning with Isla de San Andres, heading to Santa Marta, touring the Marina Puerto Velero and finishing the trip in Cartagena, Colombia’s number one tourist destination. In fact, because Cartagena’s boating population is increasing so steadily, there are plans to expand nearly every marina in the surrounding area. 
“Every stop we made on this trip highlighted the business opportunities for both the U.S. and Colombia in this quickly emerging market. From state-of-the-art marina design and development to boat sales and economic growth, Colombia looks to be a great location for NMMA members to continue  their expansion into international waters, providing U.S. boating businesses more trade opportunities,” noted Balzano. 
Companies interested in learning more about the Colombia marine industry and participating in the Cartagena Boat Show should contact Julie Balzano, [email protected], 954.441.3234.
About NMMA: National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the boating lifestyle. For more information, visit NMMA.org.