Sun, Mar 5, 2017

Smaller boats ‘keep market alive’

Small and mid-range luxury boats are proving to be the lifeblood of the region’s marine market, according industry experts.

Their appeal, accessibility and affordability compared to their larger counterparts are a key contributing factor in keeping the marine industry alive, said Sultan Alshaali, the CEO of Al Shaali Group, a prominent UAE manufacturer of yacht and boats.

“Small to medium-sized boats represent 20 per cent of the market but they generate 80 per cent of revenue for the entire industry. If you think of it this way, one boat owner will need one service; twenty boat owners will need twenty services and so on. So this is actually what’s keeping the industry alive.”

Alshaali made the comments during the 2017 Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), where over 800 brands and companies were represented from more than 60 countries. As well as 19 superyachts, there were over 450 boats moored in the marina on display at the show.

Added Alshaali: “We’ve always paid attention to this diversity and never focused solely on megayachts. The medium-sized boats are faster to build and turn around, and if you go to any marina, be it in Dubai or worldwide, you’ll find that less than 5 per cent of the boats are megayachts with the small and medium segment being the lion’s share. Marinas recognise the importance of this as well, as it is a driving factor for their business.”

Showcasing the Sport 348, the 43 Flybridge and the 49 Flybridge, a first for the Middle East, Princess Yachts also pinpointed the show as a key event to target consumers of small to mid-sized vessels, making up the bulk of their sales.

Salim Tayssoun, Managing Partner for Princess Yachts, said: “As a foreign manufacturer at the Dubai International Boat Show, the small to medium-sized boats are our best-selling products. The majority of our clients are expats who are looking for the best quality and technological features, and we always focus on bringing our latest products here.”

Ahmad Al-Ameeri, General Manager for Seas and Desert Group, distributor of Azimut Yachts, said: “With all of our customers, we’ve seen that they use their vessels 360 degrees, for fishing, diving and travelling. For the smaller range of yachts we see that owners want to drive and take care of the boat themselves, and not involve any crew. This is particularly the case with vessels up to 50 feet.”  

The five-day DIBS, which was in its 25th edition, concluded yesterday.

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