Dubai Boat Show Conference: Yachting Trends & Insights

The Annual Dubai Boat Show Leisure Yachting Conference concluded, bringing together industry leaders and experts for insightful discussions on yachting trends. Under the theme ‘How to Navigate and Win in the New Yachting Economy of the Middle East’, discussions focused on the region’s rise as a yachting destination, sustainability efforts, and targeting Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals.

Held at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, the conference began with remarks from dignitaries like His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Hareb and Trixie LohMirmand. His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Senior Advisor to the Dubai Boat Show, emphasized the significance of the event, stating, “The Annual Dubai Boat Show Leisure Yachting Conference is an annual highlight, sparking conversations on innovation. As we gear up for Dubai International Boat Show 2024, we reflect on our progress.”

Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, echoed the sentiment, highlighting the importance of the conference in shaping the future of the industry.

dubai boat show

Insights Unveiled

The conference delved into sustainability, marketing, influencer collaborations, and technological advancements. Experts discussed the sector’s ability to embrace sustainability, innovative marketing strategies, and the influence of AI on luxury yachting.

Abeer Al Shaali, Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft, shared insights, stating, “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. Embracing Dubai’s 2030 Vision for Sustainability, we remain dedicated to playing a pivotal role in shaping a more responsible and innovative future for yachting.”

Riding the Green Wave

Panelists explored harnessing green technology to create environmentally conscious luxury yachts. They emphasized that stringent emissions regulations would drive shipyards to produce eco-friendly yachts, attracting visitors to sustainable travel destinations.

Yousuf Lootah

Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance Sector, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, commented, “As Dubai emerges as a marine tourism destination, we aim to support our ESG and UAE NetZero 2050 goals through projects like Dubai Reef.”

Future Prospects

The Gulf was highlighted as a leading yachting capital, with developments like Ras Al Khaimah’s Wynn Al Marjan Island and Saudi Arabia’s Amaala Yacht Club. Michael Breman, Sales Director – Lurssen Yachts, noted the shift in customers from ‘yachtsmen’ to lifestyle enthusiasts. He stated, “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.”

Technological Impact

The conference explored how technology is reshaping vessel design and the buying experience. Jad Zakkak Migliorini, Head of Sales & Delivery Operations at Azimut Yachts, emphasized the importance of using tech to simplify the buying process. He 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. There are opportunities for us to continue to optimise and curate advanced experiences using technological advancements.”

Emiratis in Focus

Captain Sahar Rasti, the first Emirati female ship captain, shared her journey, highlighting the support of the country and its leaders in empowering women in traditionally male-dominated fields. She mentioned, “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. My experience not only highlights the personal journey but also shines a light on the incredible support from our great country and its leaders. Their unwavering encouragement of women to pursue their dreams, especially in fields traditionally dominated by men, has been instrumental. This backing has been a cornerstone of my success, showcasing the commitment to empowering women and ensuring we can excel and contribute significantly to our society’s progress and innovation.”

The Dubai International Boat Show, from February 28th to March 3rd, will showcase marine attractions from over 1,000 brands, including 400 new companies.

(Dubai Boat Show Conference: Yachting Trends & Insights – barchemagazine.com – February 2024)