The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) Conference & AGM 2014 ended on Tuesday 18th March, following a hectic two day schedule filled with speakers, workshops, activities and networking opportunities
For the first time, the event took place at the Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere, which hosted over 200 delegates from various companies and roles across the outdoor industry. This represented a spectacular turn-around from the poor turnout of less than 20 members only a few years ago with the AGM this year packed with members representing all sectors of the outdoor market.
OIA Chairman Stephen Newlands delivered a message to members to encourage support for the future efforts and activities of the OIA which has developed key relationships with national bodies and lobbying power at Westminster though its work with influential working groups. The tone for the conference was set by CEO Andrew Denton in his presentation ‘The Times, They Are a-Changing’, encouraging delegates to Engage, Unite, Support and Represent.
Beginning on Monday afternoon with some initial outdoor activities that included a tree top walk, a tough mountain biking session, a low level walk and a high level scramble led by climber Andy Cave, the AGM that followed provided an update on the progress of the OIA in recent years, announcing a continued increase in membership and a greatly improved financial status that forecasts a small projected profit in 2015.
Peter Rostron, UK country manager for Haglöfs UK said: “More than ever at this year’s conference I felt there was a great momentum within the OIA, the work done by Andrew and the board seems to be coming to fruition. The conference definitely brought to the front of my mind that it is important to get an overview of the industry as too often we only care about our daily business. A very enjoyable and worthwhile two days.”
This year’s conference was supported with generous headline sponsorship from Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District National Park and Lowe Alpine, along with associate sponsors, Pertex, Brunton and VOS Media/The Telegraph Outdoor Show.