Healthy market in luxury yachts

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 5 March, 2013

The Dubai International Boat Show opened today at Mina Seyahi, for its 21st year. It has all the luxury and technology the premier regional event is famed for, but as Noni Edwards reports, there’s also a new focus on the local marine industry.

If sales figures of luxury yachts are a barometer for the health of the economy overall, then it’s plain sailing ahead.

Boat sales in the UAE maritime market grew 40 per cent last year on figures from the year earlier and according to Saeed Hareb, CEO of the Dubai International Marine Club,  the year ahead will continue to be about giving the customer exactly what they want.

“This year I can say it’s quality, not quantity,” explains Saeed Hareb.

One of the main aims of this year’s Dubai International Boat Show is to showcase the UAE’s growing capacity as a boat manufacturing hub, and put local operators in the international spotlight, like Mohammed Hareb, the president of Al Hareb Marine.

“It’s just an honour just to be over here and that’s what we’re aiming for, we’re not here to sell,” says Mohammed Hareb. “We are here to exhibit the quality and level of craftmanship we’ve reached over the past years in boat manufacture.”

But many are here to sell and great efforts were still being made even on the morning of the official launch, to get everything ship-shape.

“Everybody comes to this boat show, the whole GCC from Kuwait, from Bahrain we meet lots of high-end users from ministers to sheikhs, everybody waits for this boat show,” says Mohammed Hareb.

Event organisers have capitalised on this anticipation and for the first time, have included a ‘Made in the UAE’ section, giving local operators around 50 per cent of the total exhibition space at this year’s event.

“It means a lot for us in the UAE for us and Dubai especially to make the Boat Show a hub internationally, linked with Europe, with Asia, America and Africa,” says Saeed Hareb, “to see the Dubai Boat Show today as one of the biggest boat shows and definitely we are looking forward to expanding, making it bigger and bigger. ”

As sponsors of “Made in the UAE”, Dubai Chamber hopes it gives the newer local entrants the kind of exposure they need to copy the success of the more established manufacturers in the UAE.

“This has always been a platform to move from the local to the international market and moving, with a product made in Dubai, or made in the UAE, to the international market you’re not promoting the product, you’re promoting the country itself and that’s what everybody wants, as a government, as a businessman, you’re trying to show everybody what is Dubai, what is the UAE, what are we capable of in this small region,” explains Mohammed Hareb.

It’s not just for industry representatives, the Boat Show is just as much tailored to the amateur enthusiast, pleasure-seeker, watersports afficionado and even those of us for whom all this is only the stuff dreams are made of.

There is something for everyone.

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