The Middle East and Africa region leads the world in superyacht demand, with more than half of the region’s ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) likely to own or buy a superyacht, according to the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) whose members are participating in the upcoming Dubai International Boat Show.

The 23rd edition of Dubai International Boat Show, organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will run from 3-7 March 2015, reinforcing Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading luxury yacht destinations, with superyacht ownership continuing to rise.

“According to our latest SYBAss Economic Report, the propensity to buy a superyacht among UHNWIs in the Middle East and Africa has increased to 51%, from 48% last year. This means that more than half the UHNWIs in the region are likely to own or buy a superyacht – the highest proportion in the world,” said Robert van Tol, Operational Director, Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss).

“Globally, demand for superyachts is increasing although not as much as wealth is: we are at an all-time high for wealth and we are also at an all-time high in terms of numbers of UHNWIs,” van Tol added.

To best promote the Superyacht experience and lifestyle, SYBAss will again represent the world’s leading superyacht builders at the Dubai International Boat Show, bringing them together in one dedicated platform at the Superyacht Life Area of the show’s Marina Display.

Growth in global demand for superyachts
“After some rough economic waters, there is a quiet feeling of optimism, interest and vitality in the market,” said Marcel Onkenhout, CEO of Oceanco, a SYBAss member and custom yacht builder of yachts in the 80+ metre range. “This region will become even more important as marinas and yachting facilities are developed in the Middle East and the Gulf.”

Oceanco, which is a long-time exhibitor at Dubai International Boat Show, currently has seven projects under construction in the 85 metres to 110 metres category, according to Onkenhout, and is on track to open a state-of-the-art facility at the beginning of this year to accommodate the construction of superyachts up to 140 meters in length.

The market is continuing to see a growth in the size of superyachts under construction. According to Showboats International’s 2015 Global Order Book, orders have increased by 25% over 2014 for yachts larger than 250 feet in length, and there is a record number of builds breaking the 100-metre barrier.

Local superyacht builders announce new projects
Dubai’s importance to the superyacht industry has been underlined by the recent announcement that the UAE’s Gulf Craft is to invest USD 100 million in a new shipyard located in Dubai Maritime City to build a global luxury yacht manufacturing facility. Gulf Craft, a global top 10 superyacht manufacturer in 2014, is expected to deliver 13 new project builds in 2015 according to Showboats International, totalling more than 1,500 feet.

Another UAE-based luxury yacht manufacturer, Al Shaali Marine, will unveil its new USD 5.45 million AS100 model superyacht at the Dubai International Boat Show, which it describes as the first of its kind designed and manufactured in the Middle East.

Dubai International Boat Show has a demonstrated track record of having secured more than 20% of its overall annual attendance from HNWIs (high net worth individuals are defined as having investable finance in excess of USD1 million). According to Wealth-X, UHNWI spending on yachting assets will grow 25% from 2013’s USD 13 billion to USD 16.3 billion by 2020.

Expanded show features
Beyond the Superyacht Life Area, Dubai International Boat Show visitors can attend this year’s show sectors: Marina Display, Outdoor Display, Marine Luxury and Lifestyle, Equipment Supplies and Services, Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX), and the Supercar Promenade.

In addition to the already packed programme, visitors will also be able to experience the show’s newest features: DIBS Sailing, DIBS Fishing and DIBS Watersports, industry areas supporting strong sales growth over the last several years.

Key returning partners include Italian luxury watch brand Officine Panerai together with Bombardier, the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains, as a Supporting Partner.

“We want to make the Dubai International Boat Show a better experience every year and we are always looking at innovative ways we can achieve this. With Dubai firmly established on the global marketplace for superyachts, the Dubai International Boat Show is an essential part of the industry calendar, attracting exhibitors and companies from around the world,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President of DWTC.

The 23rd Dubai International Boat Show at Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi is open to trade visitors and the general public from 3pm – 9.30pm daily from 3-7 March 2015.

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