Maritime experts gather to explore GCC’s yachting future at Middle East Yachting Conference 2019
Organised by the Dubai International Boat Show, the Middle East Yachting Conference 2019 hailed the speed at which changing regulations are boosting the UAE’s global maritime appeal
Panelists praised the country for attracting foreign vessels in bid to become global maritime hub
Forward-thinking maritime regulations, an increase in the number of foreign vessels and new technology are all contributing to the UAE’s rise as one of the world’s most prominent maritime hubs.
That was the consensus among distinguished panelists and guests who spoke at the region’s 13th annual Middle East Yachting Conference, held today at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.
Organised by the Dubai International Boat Show, the one-day conference gathered more than 75 leaders from across government, business and tourism to dissect how both the yachting industry and the GCC’s regulatory authorities are working together to reinvigorate the region as a global yachting hub.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Navigating the Future of the Superyacht Industry’ and stimulated discussion on the UAE’s push to become an increasingly attractive yachting destination as well as delivering updates on emerging national maritime regulations.
Despite the UAE’s deep-rooted ties with all things marine and maritime, one common theme emerged from the day’s discussions – that it was imperative for all stakeholders to work together in creating the right infrastructure, backed by regulations, for the benefit of the industry.
With the global yacht industry set to be worth $74.7 billion by 20221, the GCC aims to be well-placed to ensure maritime regulations and infrastructure match the demanding expectations of the growing sector. Already the world’s fourth most visited city2, Dubai’s existing tourism proposition helps position the Emirate front and centre to capture an increased share of the Gulf’s chartering market.
Distinguished panellists and speakers highlighted how changes to maritime and tourist laws were changing the standing of the Middle East – Dubai in particular – as a chartering hotspot and helping to attract more foreign vessels to the region.
The conference kicked off with opening remarks from Ali Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi. “We believe that Abu Dhabi has a unique proposition for superyacht owners,” he said. “The initiatives we have implemented will, we hope, increase our appeal by streamlining the process of accessing Abu Dhabi’s waters as well as incentivising longer stays in the emirate, and encouraging further exploration of the UAE capital’s natural beauty, attractions and world-class events. Our ultimate aim is to establish Abu Dhabi as a regional hub for superyacht operations and activities. In order to achieve this, we have cast off many of the previously restrictive procedures, and streamlined the application process, working in collaboration with the Department of Transport to reduce administrative requirements and red tape wherever possible.”
Conference guests also learned how artificial intelligence and automation are improving safety, cost efficiency and creating more memorable experiences for superyacht owners, as well as the ways that innovation is impacting yacht design and the biggest challenges and opportunities facing GCC superyacht captains.
Jan Timmerman, CEO, Royal Huisman, said: “Technology is defining the superyacht of the future. Insights delivered through artificial intelligence will increase the safety and comfort of superyachts while having a marked effect on costs. The yacht of the future is a smart yacht.
Other esteemed panellists and speakers at the 13th annual Middle East Yachting Conference included: Hamed Hassan, Director, Registration & Licensing, DMCA; Mohammed Al Khaabi, Cruise Head, DCT; Captain. Saif Rashed Almheiri, Acting Executive Director Maritime Sector, DOT; Selcuk Balci, Managing Director, D-Marin; Billy Canellas, RPM General Manager, Yas Marina; Richard Haws, Operations Director, Amaala; Cristiano Gatto, Company Leader, Cristiano Gatto Design; Captain. Stanley Benngard, Superyacht Captain of Rabdan; and Captain. Dennis Liamin, Superyacht Captain of My Pearl.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Events Management at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), who organise the Dubai International Boat Show, said: “The Middle East Yachting Conference shows the multi-faceted transformation of modern boating. Evolving regulations, coupled with a forward-thinking approach from the UAE’s authorities, are making the country an increasingly attractive destination for international vessels.”
The Dubai International Boat Show 2020 will be held under the theme ‘Loving What’s to Come’, and the 28th edition of the show will run from 10th-14th March 2020 at its new home in Dubai Harbour. The event is set to showcase all-new, breath-taking superyachts, mid-size boats, sailing boats, fishing vessels, water stunts and cutting-edge industry technology.