Dubai International Boat Show Highlights Local Marine Industry’s Global Appeal

The increasing demand for recreational boats in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a significant factor driving growth
13 Jun, 2023 · 4 min read
DIBS 2024

The Middle East’s largest and most established leisure marine and lifestyle marine event, the Dubai International Boat Show 2023, recently concluded after attracting over 30,000 visitors and industry players from across the globe to the Dubai Harbour for five days of demonstrations, displays, seminars, launches and workshops.

The global boat-building market is expected to reach over $47 billion in 2027, at a CAGR of 7.5%, and the increasing demand for recreational boats in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a significant factor driving growth.

Brands in Dubai are responding with their latest designs and innovations, and local manufacturers and suppliers exhibited their latest innovations at the event.

Sustainable Solutions

Al Rubban Marine, IMG Boats, Invincible Boats, Ocean Boats, Gulf Craft and Victory Yachts are among the prominent exhibitors that showcased their latest creations at the five-day event, with a focus on incorporating sustainable solutions. As the global movement towards environmental sustainability continues to reshape the maritime sector and the future of yacht architecture, yacht owners and clients are increasingly interested in innovative technologies that can create a greener yacht.

Manufacturers such as Gulf Craft are responding to this demand by integrating sustainable solutions into their builds. Abeer Al Shaali, Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft, said: “At Gulf Craft, we understand that clients prioritise sustainability and durability, and we are committed to supporting the path towards a sustainable future. We are committed to making our yachts more efficient, lightweight, and practical, always with the user’s perspective in mind. Our latest yacht, the Majesty 111, showcases the latest trends in boat building, bringing the outside inside and creating a natural flow from exterior to interior. We believe that by incorporating nature and light into our designs, we are creating a truly unique and luxurious experience for our clients.”

With brands from 60 countries featured at the show, local manufacturers and distributors exhibiting reported increased business from a diverse range of international markets. Paurush Farouk.H, Sales Manager, IMG Boats commented that there is a strong market for Middle Eastern products outside the region: “In previous years, we primarily had interest from across the region, but this year we are receiving more serious leads from international markets, particularly Eastern Europe, and Australia,” he said.

Customisation is key

Brands also reported that customisation and personalisation are high on the list of customer demands this year, as buyers are keen to reflect their personality through their purchases. Shahid Ahmed Jiwrak, Sales Manager, Ocean Boats, said: “We observed that visitors were very impressed by the options for customisation that Ocean Boats offer. This is very important because customers today want highly personalised products. These can range from walk-around cabins, forward or backwards-facing seats, centre consoles, a roof on the top of the steering wheel, and even bathrooms on board the vessel. As designers, we listen to all these preferences and incorporate them in the final boat design in the most innovative way possible, so that the customer gets a boat that suits their specific needs.”

Proud legacy

Dubai International Boat Show brought together the latest innovations from a range of the industry’s verticals.

Historically playing a key role in the UAE’s maritime sector, the country’s Fish and Seafood Market has witnessed significant growth and development in recent years. Local fishing equipment companies brought the latest advancements in rods, lures, tackles and other fishing gear to the show, and Taha Darwish, Sales & Marketing Manager, Helal Trading, wholesale distributor of Okuma throughout the Middle East said that they observed a lot of interest from regional and international retailers for next-generation reels and drags that can handle larger fish. “New equipment is lighter than before, making it easier to catch big fish like tuna which can go up to 100kg. It was our first time exhibiting at the Dubai International Boat Show, and we had many requests for these and other equipment,” he said.

For local boat manufacturers and equipment suppliers that exhibited at Dubai International Boat Show 2023, the event played an essential role in providing a platform for the industry to present its excellence to the international market. Its almost 30-year legacy can be credited with attracting yacht companies to move their headquarters to the UAE or have permanent offices here, added Abdulaziz AlMeraikhi, Owner & Founder of Ultra Marine, a distributor of Invincible Boats.

As the Dubai International Boat Show annually continues to champion the UAE’s position as a top destination for marine enthusiasts and professionals, the show undoubtedly remains the premier venue for local players to display and celebrate their innovations and advancements.

The Dubai International Boat Show 2023 ran from 1 – 5 March.