The annual conference of the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) of the U.K. ended on a strong note on March 18, attracting a record of 205 attendees, up from 150 a year ago and only around 20 in previous years. The two-day conference and the related annual general meeting of the association were held for the first time in a hotel at Windermere. Lowe Alpine, Pertex and Brunton were among the corporate sponsors.
Frank Hugelmeyer, president of chief executive of the American OIA, and Tashi Sherpa, founder and president of Sherpa Adventure Gear, were among the speakers. Darin Reisman of the Outdoor Sports Valley, Mark Held of the European Outdoor Group and Colin Bradshaw of RAPP, led some of the workshops. The convention began with some outdoor activities that included a tree-top walk, a tough mountain biking session, a low-level walk and a high-level scramble led by an experienced climber, Andy Cave.
Under the management of its chief executive, Andrew Denton, the OIA has become more active and has expanded its membership to more than 200, and they are expected to be more as the OIA has started a drive to enlist key retailers. The organization is projecting now a small profit in 2015.