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Concern over waning interest in boating in UAE

From left: Greg Stinner, CEO of ART Marine, Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Mahir Abdulkaim Julfar, Senior Vice President Venues Services Management of Dubai World Trade Centre during the press conference for the Dubai International Boat Show.

From left: Greg Stinner, CEO of ART Marine, Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Mahir Abdulkaim Julfar, Senior Vice President Venues Services Management of Dubai World Trade Centre during the press conference for the Dubai International Boat Show.

With the Dubai International Boat Show scheduled for next week, yacht manufacturers and dealers are shrugging off concerns about a decline in spending throughout the Persian Gulf.

According to an article by Ed Clowes in the Gulf News website, manufacturers and brokers answered questions about those concerns in a press conference on February 20.

“My concern is not so much whether people have the money for yachts, my concern is whether they are into boating or not,” said Erwin Bamps, chief executive of Gulf Craft, a luxury yacht builder in Ajman, in the article. “A boating interest is a more important factor than money” in the company’s long-term outlook, he explained.

Gulf Craft will be exhibiting three new models at the Dubai show, which will take place Feb. 27 through March 3, including one superyacht.

Other yachts expected to be on display include the 282-foot charter vessel, Chakra, one of the largest yachts available for charter. It goes for $562,270 per week. The 236-foot Austal, Serenity, will also be on display.

Dealers in the region say that despite the negative sentiment that exists in the market, the appetite from ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) for luxury superyachts has not diminished. They added that the changes in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have not caused noticeable changes in sales or spending.

In the luxury marine sector, the UAE is placed ninth globally for superyachts in production in 2018, with 14 new builds being manufactured in the Emirates. According to Dubai Cruise Tourism, Dubai will welcome one million cruise tourists by 2021, with berth supply climbing in parallel.

Projects like the Dubai Harbour, Marinas at Mina Rashid, and the Dubai Canal have created new destinations for yacht owners, and officials say that for the first time in nearly 10 years, supply of space is on track to meet growing demand.

“Dubai has a long history of seafaring going back generations to the days when the city was the center for the pearl industry” said Saeed Hareb, secretary general of the dubai sports council in the article. “This connection with the seas remains today, with new harbors, marinas and waterfront developments at the heart of Dubai’s plans for the future.”

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