New EFTTA CEO Jean-Claude Bel has outlined his vision of the organisation for the first time.
Jean-Claude officially becomes EFTTA’s first ever full-time chief executive on October 1st, but he has already been working behind the scenes with acting president Pierangelo Zanetta to map out the future of EFTTA.
Jean-Claude’s main focus will be to increase and improve communication about the good work EFTTA does to support the European fishing tackle trade.
He also wants to speed up the decision-making process in the organisation, increase funds for lobbying – important as angling comes under increasing pressure from animal rights activists and green campaigners – and make exciting changes to EFTTEX.
Said Jean-Claude: "The Association is the priority. EFTTEX is the result of the actions of the Association, it is just one of the things that the Association does. We do a lot, but we don’t talk about it enough. So people don’t know what we do. Now we will tell them. There will be more visibility. We must be unified, show we are strong and make our members proud to be part of EFTTA.
"This is an exciting time for EFTTA, but under the current structure it was taking too long to put plans into place. I am here to accelerate the things we do. I will work with the Board and with the secretariat to make sure plans and decisions are carried out as effectively and efficiently as possible.
"In the trade, times have become a lot tougher, competition has become more aggressive, the emergence of the Far East has changed the nature of the industry and the sport is under attack from the green lobbyists.
"The EFTTA Board is taking decisions but the Board members are all very busy with their own businesses and it has become more and more difficult to find extra time to implement those decisions.
“As a result EFTTA became EFTTEX – and that was never the intention. So it became increasingly evident that another role was required to put things into action, to make things happen more quickly and more effectively. That time has come."
EFTTEX has become the biggest and most successful angling trade show in Europe, but Jean-Claude plans to make it even bigger – broadening its interest to perhaps invite technology providers who supply business goods and services to the angling trade.
He also has a vision to attract more retailers to EFTTEX, make it a completely free show for visitors and to allow consumers to attend on the last day, Sunday.
He told Angling International magazine: "There will be changes to the show. We have to make it bigger, more efficient and more attractive to both exhibitors and to visitors. The current perception is that EFTTEX is a place to go once a year to meet your distributors. We will change that.
"We will broaden the interest to attract more people. One way, may be to extend the show to fishing-related industries such as marine companies and electronic companies.
“We can give them the chance to meet fishing customers, which is probably a bigger market for them in some countries. We may be able to create a show within a show – this is what I would like to do.
"We will also find ways to make the show more attractive to retailers. There are not enough retailers at the moment but there is no reason we cannot change that. This is important even for those companies whose main objective is to see their distributors.
"Opening the show on Sunday to consumers has to be a possibility. EFTTEX would never sell, but there are opportunities for exhibitors to promote their products, for seminars and for testing.
“There is evidence of trade shows in Europe introducing a consumer day with great success. It must be discussed and agreed properly and it has to be a consensus, but it has to come. And it could generate some extra revenue that can be reinvested for the good of member companies."
Jean Claude Bel, has more than 30 years’ experience in the fishing tackle trade, having held senior positions with some of Europe’s biggest tackle companies, including Rapala, O Mustad, Mitchell SA/Garcia Europe SA (now Pure Fishing), and Freetime Group France. From 1997 to 2007 he was the chairman of Rapala France SAS, which includes the Ragot, Water queen, Normark-Nautisme and Guigo Marine Shop companies.
Read the full interview with Jean-Claude Bel in the latest issue of Angling International magazine.