Wednesday 17 April 2024

The Leisure Yachting Conference

Dubai Boat Show forum highlights region’s yachting status

DUBAI, February 28, 2024

A key conference of the Annual Dubai Boat Show (February 28 to March 3) being held at the Dubai Harbour discussed the latest trends and innovations in the yachting sector, and how the region as a yachting destination is outpacing the world.

The Leisure Yachting Conference (February 27) at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina was held under the theme ‘How to Navigate and Win in the New Yachting Economy of the Middle East’.

It brought together industry leaders and leisure yachting experts for crucial discussions that included navigating a path towards sustainability in an industry now looking to contribute to national net-zero goals as well as targeting ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs), amongst others.

The conference commenced with opening remarks from dignitaries including Saeed Mohammed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Senior Advisor to the Dubai Boat Show, and Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre.

These remarks set the stage for discussions on the region’s transformation into a global yachting paradise and the impact the region’s outperformance in the sector is having on the industry, driven by government initiatives and sustainable developments including the inspiring Dubai Reef.

Mohammed Hareb said: "The Annual Dubai Boat Show Leisure Yachting Conference is an annual highlight, bringing together the best minds in the industry together to spark conversations on innovation.

“As we gear up to open Dubai International Boat Show 2024 in its landmark 30th edition at Dubai Harbour where we will have over 200 magnificent vessels, I can't help but reflect on how far we have come.”

The conference provided valuable insights into sustainability, marketing strategies, influencer collaborations, commercial strategies, and technological advancements shaping the luxury yachting industry, underlining the powerful strategies regional shipyards and brokers are implementing.

Industry experts were upbeat in their assessment of the sector’s ability to ride the green wave and commercialise sustainability. They also delved into various topics, including innovative marketing strategies leading to the Dubai’s achievements, the influence of influencers, and how AI is transforming luxury yachting. 

Abeer Al Shaali, Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft said: "Reflecting on the conference, it was insightful to see the maritime industry's progression. The discussions around sustainable practices, technological advancements, and the evolving preferences of HNWIs provided valuable insights into Gulf Craft's strategic direction.”

The Green Wave

Further, panel members discussed the progress being made in harnessing advanced green technology developments to make luxury yachts more environmentally conscious and agreed that more rigorous emissions regulations would propel shipyards into producing eco-friendly yachts opening up new avenues for profitable ventures.

Visitors to the conference heard that developing sustainable opportunities would also impact the value of eco-friendly travel destinations, particularly among the growing sustainability-minded youth sector.

Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance Sector, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “As Dubai continues to grow in stature as a leading marine tourism destination and a global superyacht capital, we look forward to the continued expansion of Dubai’s marine ecosystem and infrastructure over the next 10 years.

“This aligns with the aspiration of our visionary leadership and the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.

“Dubai Reef, one of our city’s most ambitious and inspiring projects yet, will play a vital role, as we remain committed to supporting our ESG and UAE NetZero 2050 goals and advancing the transition towards a green economy, with the aim of making Dubai the best city to visit, live and work in.”

A Leading Yachting Capital

The Gulf was earmarked as a leading yachting capital with delegates highlighting Ras Al Khaimah’s multi-billion-dollar Wynn Al Marjan Island, Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion Amaala Yacht Club and NEOM’s Sindalah Island as yachting hubs which are redefining standards in the industry.

Michael Breman, Sales Director – Lurssen Yachts said: “We have seen how the customer has morphed from a ‘yachtsman’ to a ‘lifestyle-r’ who is seeing yachting as the ideal space to share with family. While many customers remain conservative and careful – it is a niche market, we are witnessing that shift which we are adapting to and has enabled further expansion.”

The conference also heard how technology is rapidly impacting the industry’s evolutions through new vessel design as well as the effect on the buying experience, highlighting Dubai’s position as a leading destination spearheading the shift in expectation in the luxury market.

Jad Zakkak Migliorini, Head of Sales & Delivery Operations and Head of Marketing – Azimut Yachts said: “It’s important for us to use tech to make the process of buying easier – this is what buyers are looking for right now. In the post-pandemic area, buyers expect virtual services including e-lounges which can cause challenges given our business is based on experience.”

Emiratis in the Spotlight

Captain Sahar Rasti reflected on her personal experiences, mentioning: “As the first Emirati female ship captain, my journey to this position has been fuelled by a lifelong fascination with the sea and a determination to pave the way for women in a traditionally male-dominated field. – TradeArabia News Service



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