GOTEBORG, Sweden - The Cote d'Opale (Transmanche), a partnership of marinas in five French and three English Channel ports for the promotion of cross-Channel sailing and tourism, has signed on as a co-sponsor of IMC 2008, organizers reported yesterday in a release.
The organization will cooperate with the Flemish community and the Federation Francaise des Ports de Plaisance in arranging an all-day conference field trip to marinas at Dunquerque, Calais, Boulogne sur Mer, Etaples sur Mer, and Gravelines in Northern France as well as Belgium's biggest at Nieuwpoort. In addition, an optional 7-day holiday package is being organized for conference registrants wishing to take in France, Belgian Flanders and southern Holland.
A principal aim of IMC 2008 - the next in ICOMIA's triennial international marina education conference series which is scheduled for May 25-28, 2008 in the Media Centre at Oostende, Belgium - is to ally marina and yacht harbor developers and operators with public and private sector tourism agencies for their mutual benefit.
The focus of IMC 2008 is on marinas' key role in nautical tourism.
It is increasingly easy for tourists to cruise far and wide by boat, one reason being that many of today's marinas and yacht harbors are designed or are being reconfigured to accommodate cruising yachts. The economic significance of transient boaters as tourists is capturing the attention of local, state and national governments eager to capitalize on the lure of their coastal and inland waters for boating, fishing and other marine recreation. Thus, alliances for progress - networking with the tourist industry and government tourist authorities will be a main theme of IMC 2008.
Flanders has been selected as the conference venue because its Channel ports are among the most popular crossroads for cruising yachts in Europe.
The conference will examine what attracts boaters to marinas and yacht harbors as tourist destinations. It will look at various systems for rating facilities and services for quality, recognizing that cruising yacht owners and crews regard the place where they tie up as key to a quality recreational boating experience.
It will also discuss clean marina programs worldwide, recognizing that many boaters have journeyed a great distance just to enjoy the environment. It will evaluate tourism literature for the inclusion of recreational boating and fishing opportunities and the availability of marinas and yacht harbors, and develop strategies for improving boating facilities information in tourist brochures and on the Internet.
Other conference highlights will be the airing of government initiatives for the promotion of nautical tourism and government policies for the preservation of public boat access to recreational waters.
Conference details can be found on the Web at www.imc2008.com.
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