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Middle East anchors global yacht market

A general view shows Saint-George Yacht Club & Marina facing Zaitunay Bay in Beirut, Lebanon May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alia Haju


ALKESH SHARMA / Emirates Business

With an approximate annual growth of upto 5 to 10 percent, the Middle East has emerged as one of the record blossoming markets for yachts and boats globally. There has been a significant surge in buying of yachts, which has given a strong impetus to the manufacturing industry of yachts and boats in this region.
This region is indisputably led by the UAE, which unfailingly ranks among the major manufacturing nations for super-yachts, according to the ShowBoats International Global Order Book.
Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft — an Emirates-based company with shipyards in UAE and Maldives — said, “UAE is one of the best yachting hubs in the world. Dubai appreciates the leisure marine sector. There is a strong demand from local buyers for yachts and boats of any size, from relatively modest cruisers and sport boats, to the most luxurious private yachts.”
“We know that anyone looking to buy a boat or yacht in the UAE will be at world-renowned event Dubai International Boat Show, which was a huge success this year. Also this place puts us on the map with international buyers, which is important to us because we market and sell globally,” he added.
Notably, the official figures from Dubai Maritime City Authority say that new licenses issued for water craft of all types more than doubled in 2015 when compared with 2014. 1,623 licences were issued last year while only 698 were issued in 2014.
“GCC region, especially the UAE and Bahrain, is attracting millions of tourists every year because of their picturesque coastline. Now yacht-tourism is a new segment adding to the tourism industry. These countries are offering safe and expert offerings in terms of yachts and water sports. We expect yacht and boat industry to grow by not less than15 to 20 percent in UAE and Bahrain in the next couple of years,” Abhijeet Wadwalkar, senior manager at Manama-based Gulf Water Sports, which took part in Arabian Tavel Market in Dubai last month told Emirates Business.
“According to a recent survey, among the Middle East’s ultra-high net worth individuals (whose net worth is over $30 million), nearly 4 to 5 percent are expected to purchase a yacht longer than 40 meters. It clearly represents the maximum inclination towards buying yachts in any region worldwide. Therefore we are keenly focusing on this region to capture the untapped market,” pointed out Wadwalkar.
According to the Superyacht Builders’ Association, the region’s market for yachts, greater than 40 meters in length, has grown at an average of nearly 6 percent per year from 2009 to 2015.

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