By Rob Morris
Boat show chief says demand in the region is set to remain high despite global crisis.
The economic crunch will hit most global boat industry markets in the next three years, but not the Middle East, Dubai World Trade Centre’s CEO said on Wednesday.
Helal Almarri insisted demand for luxury boats and yachts would remain high in this region.
Speaking to Arabian Business after announcing the agenda for the Dubai International Boat Show, Almarri said: “The industry is going to go through a very tough two to three years.
“We see around the world international markets are suffering in this industry and many boat shows around the world have declined, but we have managed to keep the same size and that is a tribute to this region.”
Some 721 international companies from 50 countries will be represented at the boat show, which takes place from March 3-7 at Mina Seyahi hotel in Dubai. During the event, 17 super yachts and various luxury boats will be on show.
Almarri said boat and yacht manufacturers are targeting emerging markets such as the Middle East to capitalise on steady demand. He also said the increase in berths, where boats are moored, had contributed to the local sector’s recent development.
Saeed Harib, CEO of the Mina Seyahi, also believed rising berth numbers will continue to stimulate demand amid the economic downturn.
“People here used to cry ‘there aren’t enough berths’,” he said. “But now we open a new berth every year such as the one we have at Mina Seyahi or others in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”
Harib also believed the financial crisis would not deter affluent people in the UAE from buying luxury boats.
But Almarri warned the Middle East boating industry’s rapid expansion in recent years would not continue at the same pace during 2009.
“The level of growth is going to be affected; you are not going to have triple digit growth year-on-year in this industry. It will be normalised across this industry and if you look at the growth of international exhibitors at the show the make up has changed with more from Europe and other places.”
Another One! Mr. Recession-what-recession? Hope you realise the masses are not concerned with the Yacht Market status! Maybe with the fares of the Abra and RTA's attempt to take a slice with their 4dirham rides - but not yachts for sure! Wakey wakey!