Families Drive Rising Boat Sales Across Gulf Area

Industry experts converged together today for the 8th Gulf Boating Conference to share insights on the buoyant marine market.
The conference runs concurrently each year with the Dubai International Boat Show and is billed as the region’s largest annual maritime networking session, attracting key individuals and exhibitors who drive foreign direct investment in the region’s leisure maritime market.
The theme of the conference this year was “Achieving Sustainable Development in the GCC and Beyond,”
As delegates sat in on the first session they learned from a report by Booz & Co that 60% of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) youth spend more than seven hours of quality time per week with family, boating provides an all-inclusive experience with sport, beach and land activities;
The inference being that families seeking to spend more quality time together are driving rising small boat ownership across the GCC, according to industry experts at the 8th Gulf Boating Conference at the Dubai International Boat Show 2014 held today.
“Boating provides an all-inclusive family-friendly experience, including watersports and swimming, beach activities, and activities on land like barbecues at marinas,” said Captain Toby Haws, Marina Manager of the Emirates Palace Marina in Abu Dhabi, and the organiser of the 8th Gulf Boating Conference. “As more families come to the UAE for infrastructure projects and Expo 2020, they are increasingly moving into maritime developments, further encouraging small boat ownership.”
Small boats are increasingly affordable to GCC youth, who hold a relatively high per capita GDP of USD 32,000, according to a 2013 report from Mashreq Bank. In response to consumer demand, a wide range of maritime developments are under construction across the GCC, especially in Dubai, providing safe inland waterways and modern boat accommodation.
In Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina are being complemented by The Lagoons, The World, the Palm Deira, Business Bay, and the Dubai Creek extension. Both Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah are also seeing strong growth in maritime developments, according to the 8th Gulf Boating Conference participants.
Abdulla Al Noon of the Dubai Creek Marina opened the conference, while additional presenters included Nawfal Al Jourani, Adel Kalantar, and Mohammad Al Bastaki from the Dubai Maritime City Authority on regulations and safety procedures; and Mike Derrett of Mike Derrett Consultancy on marine and yachting projects in the region.

Following the presentations, attendees participated in three breakout sessions: “Yacht Brokers and Dealerships” with John Bush and Brett Noble of Bush & Noble; Bruno Meier of ART Marine Marinas on “Marina Design and Operation,” and SSDS Risk Management on “Superyacht and Security.”