Major maritime projects, coastline developments and Expo 2020 are driving growth in UAE boat building, say leading boat manufacturers and authorities in the build-up to the 22nd edition of Dubai International Boat Show.
According to market research by Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries (DCMMI) and Drydocks World, Dubai’s maritime industry is buoyant as the UAE saw USD170-220 million in investment in boat design and boatbuilding in 2013.
Thanks to the impact from World Expo 2020, and coastline and island developments such as Dubai Maritime City, Nakheel, The World, and the Dubai Canal, Dubai’s maritime industry is showing strong growth across the board, the DCMMI, a trade association with more than 200 regional members, stated.
H.E. Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman, Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries, said: “Since the Expo 2020 announcement, there has been strong international interest in leisure craft in Dubai, as there will be an increase in the number of leisure craft, fishing yachts, and tourism boats. Three factors will put Dubai at the top of the global maritime industry: a rich tradition of boatbuilding, the latest technology, and enhanced costs with access to manpower. Dubai International Boat Show is a big business for international companies, and we want to make it one of the most influential in the world.”
Dubai International Boat Show, which runs from 4-8 March at Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi, will have a total of 17 UAE boat builders showcasing their latest models at the show this year. UAE-based exhibitors at the show include: Al Shaali Marine, AM Shipyard, Al Fajer Marine, Gulf Craft, IMG Boats, Premier Composites Technologies, Safwa Marine.
Dubai International Boat Show will also feature the “UAE Inspired” Pavilion, hosting six leading companies from the UAE’s booming maritime industry: Al Hareb Marine, Al Mazrooei Boat, Al Rubban Marine, Julfar Craft, National Marine Alliance and Ocean Boats.
In addition, the Heritage Village, organised by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the UAE’s rich maritime history and diverse culture.
“Dubai’s popularity with leisure marine craft is evidenced by the increase in number of boat and marine licence registrations received by the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), which is tasked with providing a safe and vibrant maritime environment and leading positive change through the introduction and support of maritime rules and regulations,” said Nawfal Al Jourani, Director of Communications, DMCA.
DMCA will have a dedicated stand at the Dubai International Boat Show doubling as a fully-fledged customer service centre, in order to address the growing needs of the maritime sector and reaffirm Dubai’s position as a first-class international maritime hub, and will also be unveiling its new mobile app for the maritime communities.
UAE based fiberglass boat builder Gulf Craft, one of the world’s top 10 superyacht manufacturers, offers eight superyacht models between 24 metres and 50 metres in overall length. Over the last two years, the number of orders has tripled for Gulf Craft’s small boats from 9 to 13 metres long, while larger fly-bridge yachts are also increasingly popular.
Erwin Bamps, COO, Gulf Craft, said: “The most interesting market growth we have seen is in the 30 to 40 metres sizes. The pragmatic approach and positive consumer confidence that is prominent in the Gulf means that when owners decided to upgrade, they didn’t go from a 24 metre to a 25 metre, they went from an 24 metre and jumped across the 30 metre barrier into superyacht territory.’”
Thanks to improved facilities and marinas for yachts in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, yacht owners in the Middle East are increasingly keeping their yachts of up to 40 metres long in the region, Bamps added.
UAE boat manufacturer Ahmed Al Zaabi, Executive Manager at Julfar Craft said: “Returning to the UAE Pavilion enables us to reach a wider customer base from the GCC and internationally, who appreciate high-quality craftsmanship in their fishing and leisure boats. We are seeing strong demand, as more Dubai tourists and residents spend time on the water, and we expect a 20% increase in sales thanks to the exposure we receive at the Dubai International Boat Show and following the introduction of a new model in June of this year. Having been in business since 1990, we can see that Expo 2020 is already boosting Dubai’s maritime presence, and the Dubai International Boat Show is pushing full steam ahead as one of the world’s most important platforms for connecting boat builders, boating enthusiasts, and the maritime industry.”
Sultan A. Alshaali, CEO, Al Shaali Marine, said: “The Dubai International Boat Show is very important nationally and internationally, serving as a hub where buyers and sellers meet. We are seeing an increase in demand from customers, along with the marine industry, thanks to lenient policies and the availability of free ports across the GCC and Middle East. Expo 2020 is already impacting the marine industry, with high demand for boats and yachts.”
Leading, Largest, and Most Established Marine and Leisure Event
The Dubai International Boat Show will feature 840 exhibiting companies and brands – a 12% increase over 2013 – reflecting the UAE’s increasing importance in the international luxury maritime market and heightened consumer confidence across the GCC.
The show is expected to draw more than 26,000 visitors from over 70 different countries, including 5,000 VIPs and key buyers. Regional royalty and top buyers from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE will join the thousands of visitors from Africa, Asia and China while strong visitor footfall from Europe and America is also expected. Dubai International Boat Show organisers believe the participation highlights the resilience of the region’s maritime industry.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the event, said: “The Dubai International Boat Show’s UAE Inspired Pavilion will enable the UAE’s small to medium boating companies to ascend to the next level in business. The Dubai International Boat Show provides the region’s leading one-stop shop for boat builders to access distributors, trade associations, and potential customers, supporting Dubai’s sector market as it continues to grow in the build-up to World Expo 2020.”
Lucrative international platform
More than 50 countries are represented by Dubai International Boat Show exhibitors this year, as well as four dedicated country pavilions from Australia, Italy and USA, with USA companies confirmed to have taken up an impressive 35% increase in exhibition space, highlighting global interest and investment in the lucrative Middle East market.
Show sectors for this year include The Superyacht Experience (SYBAss), Marina Display, Outdoor Display, Luxury Supplies and Services (LSS), Equipment Supplies and Services (ESS), Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX) and Supercar Promenade.
The purpose-built Marina Display area – the show’s crown jewel – will once again provide a stunning backdrop of the world’s finest superyachts and pleasure crafts for a wide array of regional and international premieres. One of the world’s top 50 largest superyachts top this year’s attractions and is the biggest boat to appear at Dubai International Boat Show in the history of the event.
Among the prestigious key sponsors welcomed back to the show are luxury watch brand Officine Panerai as a Supporting Partner, Mercedes Benz as the Official Car Partner and ART MARINE as Official Marina Display Partner. Bombardier, the world’s only manufacturer of planes and trains, is the exclusive sponsor of the LSS indoor pavilion.