On the 25th of May, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) organised its first European Winter Summit at Flanders’ Bike Valley. On this occasion, a selection of major stakeholders with expert knowledge on the winter sector including a representative from the European Commission, came together to discuss the numerous challenges that the winter sport industry is facing, with the objective of stimulating sector growth. During the Summit, FESI’s Ski Committee presented the results of their survey which demonstrate that generally, the attractiveness of winter sport is dwindling. In this study, FESI also identified several factors that should be taken into account in order to support and promote winter sports: there are various stakeholders involved in the common winter sport experience and, there is a clear need to build drivers for the attractiveness of winter sport activity. Participants agreed that such a holistic approach calls for the set up of a multi-stakeholder platform, involving all the main stakeholders active in winter sports and willing to work on solutions. In addition to that, the European Commission represented by Dr. Sobczak from the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, presented several initiatives from which the winter sector can profit, including a number of EU Funding programmes such as: COSME; Horizon 2020; Erasmus + Education, training, youth; European Structural and Investment Funds ESI and the European Fund for Strategic Investments EFSI. As a concluding remark, FESI’s Secretary General, Alberto Bichi commented that “in order to effectively enhance participation in winter sport activities, a comprehensive approach is required. As an industry, we therefore agree to formalise the winter summit concept and invite more stakeholders around the table to maximise cooperation.”
“We have no certainty as to what the future holds, but the Winter Summit enables us to have proactive discussions on sector challenges and to develop long-term strategies. Therefore we invite and encourage FESI to coordinate another meeting in 2017 as this could strengthen our alliance, by developing the required multi-stakeholder platform” says René Harrer Chairman of the FESI Ski Committee.