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Mon 16 Mar 2009 04:00 AM

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Marine life

Credit crunch? What credit crunch? Dubai International Boat Show promises to display some of the world’s most luxurious yachts this month.

Credit crunch? What credit crunch? Dubai International Boat Show promises to display some of the world’s most luxurious yachts this month.

Who would have thought eight months ago that the global economy would crash in such a spectacular fashion, rocking the world’s most established yachting brands, dealers, and associated businesses?

As a hub of international trade and investment, Dubai, like all other cities, has been drastically hit by the global slowdown and subsequent credit crunch.

So far, the domestic UAE market has not crashed. Boats are still being traded and marina fees are still being paid.

However, unlike the US and European-based economies, the cash liquidity and lack of large-scale personal finance (particularly for marine use) has reduced the severity of the impact.

So far, the domestic UAE market has not crashed or experienced mass liquidation, it has merely slowed. Boats are still being traded, marina fees are still being paid and new models are continually arriving to fuel speculative demand.

So what does 2009 hold? From tales of major boat builders pulling out of UK and USA shows, DIBS has managed to retain its double-figure growth rate year-on-year, and is setting up in 2009 for a larger-than-ever on-water display area. In addition to the large pavilions for Luxury Services and Equipment Supplies.

Once again, DIBS will be held at the DIMC. Established in 1988, the Club is one of the most elegant yacht facilities in the region, and over the years it has become the driving force behind the growth of national and international watersport events in the Middle East.

The Show is divided up into four areas across DIMC. The Equipment Supplies and Services Area groups together with local and international companies displaying an extensive range of maritime products.

Everything critical to a craft’s seaworthiness will be found in this area among the many National Group Pavilions. Products on display here range from boat fittings and fixtures to engines and communication and navigation equipment.

The Luxury Supplies and Services Area is an air-conditioned indoor facility that brings together the finest superyacht, megayacht and luxury boat-builders from around the world, in addition to renowned interior designers, suppliers and service providers.

The growing charter and brokerage industry is represented by the increasing numbers of international companies offering their services in this section. Also, the Luxury Supplies and Services Area plays host to many waterfront developers showcasing new marina projects.Superyacht builders and service suppliers have been segregated into their own Superyacht Pavilion again, allowing those with multi-million dollar budgets something to dream about.

Outside, and occupying the largest surface area of the show, the External Area consists of custom-built stands, displaying an array of small to medium-size craft, from high-speed power boats to fishing and smaller pleasure boats.

Many world-renowned brands from the small trailer boat sector can be found here as well as locally manufactured craft. Watersports equipment and accessories are also displayed in this area.

The on-water area encompasses large powerboats and sailing boats from the world’s leading manufacturers, as well as many local boat builders who use DIBS as a platform to showcase their entire range of yachts to a worldwide audience. As one of the most attractive sections of the show, the floating Marina Display Area plays host to luxury yachts, sports, fishing and speedboats.

Several other related events take place alongside the main Show, and one of the highlights is the 5th Gulf Boating Conference, held between March 4th and 5th.

With the support of ICOMIA, the voice of the boating industry worldwide, this year’s conference is set to be a key event for marine professionals visiting DIBS and demonstrates the region’s scope in becoming an international marine hub.

The one-day conference format and one-day site visit of Maritime City this year addresses the massive changes that face the leisure boating industry worldwide.

Driving companies to seek new markets around the world, the Gulf States have a particular interest with high liquidity combined with growth rates that the IMF predicts to remain up to 5 percent.

Captain Ahmed Shaker from Kaust University starts the day by giving an inside view of the much misunderstood Saudi Arabian market, followed a presentation by Dubai Maritime City on the rules and regulations from the perspective of the Government of Dubai.

Following a networking break, Rudi Joustra of Elcome International discusses the practicalities of doing business across the Gulf region, followed by marine consultant Mike Derrett, who questions whether the MENA and Asian markets have the capacity and maturity to take up the expectations from overseas.

Slipped in before lunch, a panel of experts have been assembled to facilitate discussion on any aspect of the marine industry in the Arabian Gulf. Joining the speakers, are Erwin Bamps Executive Manager of Gulf Craft Inc; Andrew Wagner, Managing Director of Al Masaood; and Toby Haws, journalist and Marina Manager of Dubai Marina Yacht Club.

Elsewhere throughout the show, the Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX) will run alongside DIBS. This is an exciting platform for companies involved in diving to showcase their products, as well as a series of live dive demonstrations by Emirates Diving Association. DMEX exhibitors. There’s also the opportunity to take part in trial dives in the diving demonstration pool.

RELATED LINK:There's a boat out there for everyone

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

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