Superyacht Ownership Interest Grows For Middle East’s Ultra Wealthy

The 23rd edition of Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will run from Mar 3-7, reinforcing Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading luxury yacht destinations with superyacht ownership continuing to rise. The show will be held at Dubai International Marine Club.


The Middle East and Africa region leads the world in superyacht demand, with more than half of the region’s ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) likely to own or buy a superyacht, according to the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) whose members are participating in the upcoming Dubai International Boat Show.

“According to our latest SYBAss Economic Report, the propensity to buy a superyacht among UHNWIs in the Middle East and Africa has increased to 51% from 48% last year,” says Robert van Tol, Operational Director of SYBAss. “This means that more than half the UHNWIs in the region are likely to own or buy a superyacht – the highest proportion in the world.”

According to Wealth-X, UHNWI spending on yachting assets will grow from 2013’s US$13 billion to US$16.3 billion by 2020.

“After some rough economic waters, there is a quiet feeling of optimism, interest and vitality in the market,” says Marcel Onkenhout, CEO of Oceanco, a SYBAss member and custom yacht builder of boats in the over 80-metre range. “This region will become even more important as marinas and yachting facilities are developed in the Middle East and the Gulf.”

Oceanco – a long-time exhibitor at DIBS, currently has seven projects under construction in the 85- to 110-metre category and is on track to open a state-of-the-art facility at the beginning of this year to accommodate the construction of superyachts up to 140 metres in length.

Dubai’s importance to the superyacht industry has been underlined by the recent announcement that the UAE’s Gulf Craft is to invest US$100 million in a new shipyard located in Dubai Maritime City to build a global luxury yacht manufacturing facility. Gulf Craft, a global top 10 superyacht manufacturer in 2014, is expected to deliver 13 new project builds in 2015 according to ShowBoats International.

Another UAE-based luxury yacht manufacturer, Al Shaali Marine, will unveil its new US$5.45 million AS100 model superyacht at DIBS, which it describes as the first of its kind designed and manufactured in the Middle East.

Beyond the Superyacht Life Area, DIBS visitors can attend this year’s show sectors: Marina Display, Outdoor Display, Marine Luxury and Lifestyle, Equipment Supplies and Services, Dive Middle East Exhibition, and the Supercar Promenade.


In addition to the already packed programme, visitors will also be able to experience the show’s newest features: DIBS Sailing, DIBS Fishing and DIBS Water sports, industry areas supporting strong sales growth over the last several years.

“We want to make the Dubai International Boat Show a better experience every year and we are always looking at innovative ways we can achieve this. With Dubai firmly established on the global marketplace for superyachts, the Dubai International Boat Show is an essential part of the industry calendar, attracting exhibitors and companies from around the world,” says Trixie Loh Mirmand, Senior Vice President of DWTC.


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