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Dubai International Boat Show set to be strong

Dubai: The 22nd edition of the Dubai International Boat Show is expected to be stronger than last year due to higher consumer spending and growing waterfront developments.

“Due to the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, followed by some local real estate issues, the boating industry in general suffered a lot. I think this year … the leisure yachting industry will find its comeback,” said Gregor Stinner, CEO of Dubai-based Art Marine.

The show will run between March 4 and 8 at the Dubai International Marine Club and will be open for trade visitors and the public between 3pm and 9:30pm. The entry fee is Dh60.

The UAE economy’s recovery and a growth in waterfront developments have helped boost demand for small and medium-sized boats, according to Erwin Bamps, COO of UAE-based boat manufacturer Gulf Craft.

He said that demand for superyachts “has always been going strong in this region. The high net-worth individuals have continued to spend over the past five years [and] have not stopped.”

Coastline developments are boosting the building of boats in the UAE, according to a statement by the show’s organisers, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The UAE is ranked ninth among the world’s top ten yacht-building countries, according to ShowBoats International Global Order Book 2014, an annual report by Boat International.

The show will see the participation of 750 brands, with 42 global and regional premiers, according to the organisers. It will also feature 16 UAE-based boat builders.

Of the 750 participating companies, 30 per cent come from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and 70 per cent come from across the globe, according to Saeed Hareb, vice president of the Dubai International Marine Club.

The event is expected to attract 26,000 visitors from 70 countries, of which 55 per cent are likely to come from the GCC.

It will showcase 430 boats, valued at Dh1.8 billion, including 19 superyachts, the largest being the 88.5 metre superyacht Nirvana. It features six decks, two helipads, a stage for live performances and a cinema.

Gulf Craft will display both superyachts and small and medium-sized boats at the show, including a 135-foot superyacht, its largest at the show, valued at around $16.5 million.

The show is expected to grow between five to 10 per cent every year, according to Hareb.

The maritime sector in Dubai contributes Dh14.4 billion to the emirate’s GDP, according to the organisers, sourcing data from Dubai Maritime City Authority.