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4 July 2013, 11:48
Poole Council's been successful in a bid to host the 2017 European Maritime Day, which is expected to give a big boost to the town's economy.
The Council of the European Commission announced the list of host cities for 2015 - 2019 on 1 July and Poole will host the event in May 2017.
The event is held annually on 20 May to showcase the importance of the sea in our everyday lives - enabling transportation of food and vital supplies, providing jobs and a thriving economy and enhancing leisure and relaxation opportunities.
The conference brings together key stakeholders involved in the maritime sector from shipbuilding to offshore energy, the coastal environment and tourism to address the major challenges they face. As part of Poole's bid, four key subject areas were proposed for the conference theme - renewable energy; spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management; safety and security and protecting coastal ecosystems. The theme will be selected nearer the time as topical interests can fluctuate.
Poole's successful bid, that will be jointly funded by business and the EU, will provide a fantastic opportunity for the town's economy and the event promises to boost the town's position amongst the maritime community across Europe. The event will bring in thousands of visitors as well as influential people in the maritime sector.
Cllr Xena Dion, Portfolio Holder for the Local Economy, Transportation and the Environment, Borough of Poole, said:
"This is a unique opportunity to show the world what we have to offer here in Poole. We want it to be a remarkable and memorable event with plans for tall ships, flotillas, a pageant, international shipping, yacht and power boat racing, interactive maritime events, nautical festivities and so much more.
"This event will give a tremendous boost to Poole's economy. It brings in thousands of visitors - filling our hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants and ensuring great trading opportunities for our visitor attractions and shops. It is particularly important for local businesses as the Conference brings in people who are the 'thinkers, deciders and doers' in the maritime sector across Europe and it's a great opportunity for them to promote their product."
The real focus of the event is the two-day conference which is about moving forward the European maritime policy. This is important in terms of all European Union countries working together to ensure a number of factors - our seas are safe and secure to enable free movement of our essential freight and trade, that coastal erosion and development is managed appropriately to prevent tidal flooding and that resources such as fish, minerals and energy are obtained in a sustainable way to protect the seas and oceans for the future.
Jim Stewart, chief executive, Poole Harbour Commissioners, said:
"Poole Harbour Commissioners is very happy to lend their support to the application and we are delighted with the European Commission's decision, which is a great honour for the town of Poole. The marine and maritime sectors are critical to Poole's economy, and we look forward to working closely with Borough of Poole in order to ensure that the event is a great success and highlighting what Poole and its unique harbour have to offer."
The conference will be accompanied by a maritime festival lasting several days and gives Poole the opportunity to celebrate its maritime heritage on a scale never seen before here.
South West MEP Julie Girling, who has endorsed this event from the start, said:
"This is fantastic news for Poole and will be a massive boost for the local economy. This is an opportunity to really put Poole on the map in Europe and showcase what a great place it is."