As we draw to a close for 2019, I would like to extend a special thank you to our members for their ongoing support. It is members such as yourselves who continue to build the global reputation of AIMEX as robust and credible, without which our continued success would not be reached.
I would also like to thank and acknowledge our outgoing President, Richard Chapman, a founding member of AIMEX of twenty-one years. Richard is heralded for his commitment and efforts as AIMEX President, most recently for the past six years. His contribution to the AIMEX family has been tremendous and his time, dedication and steady hand appreciated by the Board and members equally. Fortunately, his vast experience and knowledge will be retained by the group as he remains a Director on the AIMEX Board.
The annual ASMEX Conference in May this year was once again a sell-out event attracting an impressive amount of both local and international delegates and we welcome you all to attend in 2020 where we will be celebrating our 10th year! We are pleased to announce after feedback from 2019 delegates, AIMEX will run a separate Export track with a strong focus on mentoring and education for export businesses. The 2019 edition also introduced Yard Tours for the first time, allowing delegates to experience and understand the scope of the diverse shipyards and the scale of offering in south-east Queensland.
The Australian Marine Industry Awards were a great success, recognising players in the marine industry for their innovative Australian products and services. In 2020, an exciting new apprentice award will be introduced and we will let you know when the award submissions open.
AIMEX members attended a number of significant international events in 2019 including IBEX in Tampa, METSTRADE in Amsterdam, Shanghai Boat Show in China, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and the Monaco Yacht Show to name a few. AIMEX has committed to attending these shows again in 2020 and next year will include the bi-annual 2020 edition of the Asia Pacific Maritime in Singapore and also WorkBoat in New Orleans to support our members to access these markets.
A huge success story of 2019 is of course the recent news permitting foreign flagged superyachts to charter in Australian waters. The Australian government passed the legislation through the Senatelast week which will allow superyachts to use a coastal trading temporary license, ultimately stimulating commercial charter activities. The industry has been working tirelessly for a number of years in order to pass this bill, which will likely triple our industry activity overnight and I congratulate all parties involved for their efforts and dedication to this.
With Australia recognised as the dominant refit and maintenance provider in the Asia/Pacific region, and with our refit and repair facilities having invested over $100 million on growing their capabilities over the last 12 months, Australia is well prepared for the expected demand.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy festive season and even more successes to come in an exciting 2020 and we also look forward to see what the new decade will deliver for the Australian marine Industry.