New leisure patterns spark merger of boating, holiday lobbies

LEUSDEN – The world vacations differently today than 40 or 50 years ago. To deal with shifting holiday patterns, the Dutch boating and water sports trade lobby HISWA is joining forces with the country’s general leisure sector lobby RECRON.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the merged, HISWA-RECRON trade lobby will speak for 2,500 companies active in many leisure sectors, including water sports. HISWA-RECRON Director Geert Dijks speaks of “a logical step.”

The merger partners, he says, “have many common interests, complement each other and will be more effective in lobbying.” Also, members can expect better service “and more investments will be possible for innovation,” he adds.

Within the merged organization, the HISWA brand will remain but with a greater focus on marketing and export promotion of Dutch-built yachts to 30m in length.

The reason for that is that Dutch superyacht builders and their suppliers – known as the HISWA Holland Yachting Group lobby – are joining Netherlands Maritime Technology.They see the 400-member, Rotterdam-based trade lobby for commercial shipping and related sectors as a more natural partner than the leisure sector.

The HISWA-RECRON merger caps a decade of changes in boating and vacationing. The stereotype of working on a boat all winter and sailing it all summer has faded. Leisure is becoming increasingly important. These days, consumers may take 2 or 3 short vacations a year, often many time zones away.

Also, a bit of the gloss is off recreational boat ownership. Rental of boats and houseboats has become more common. Boaters are aging and newcomers demand new services from builders, marinas and charterers.

These trends are seen across the developed world and have triggered Grow-Boating campaigns everywhere.

Yet, says HISWA-RECRON Chairman Peter Brussels, the fure of the leisure sector looks good. “It is a growth sector with a turnover equal to that of the construction sector. And twice that of agriculture.