The central focus of the conference was on collaboration between GCC countries to promote and facilitate yacht visits and charter opportunities in the region. Until a few weeks ago, there were several pieces of legislation in place which made it difficult to charter in the region.
Legislation has now been passed to make it easier e.g. crew are now allowed to stay in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for a continuous six months instead of one, which was previously the case. Also, legislation has now been passed to allow free movement between UAE provinces.
All speakers expressed that there was a need for all countries within the UAE and GCC to capitalise on the recent progress, and continue to make it easier to charter and berth in the area. It was also stressed tat competition must be avoided in order for the industry to grow in the local and regional areas.
Some notable highlights from several of the keynote speakers included Jonathan Hind, Managing Director of Burgess Dubai, who spoke as part of the “GCC Superyacht Charter business opportunities” from the industry perspective. He enforced the message that the UAE is most certainly open for charter, and serves as the perfect all-around hub for the yachting elite with incredible facilities, weather, and attractions such as the Formula 1.
Saeed Al Dhaheri, Manager of Special Interests Tourism Department of Culture and Tourism, spoke as part of the “GCC Superyacht Charter business opportunities” from the government perspective. He expressed the importance and intent to continue working with neighbours such as Dubai and Oman in creating a true destination for the superyacht elite. This will start with bettering communication and continual progress with internal legislation to ensure that bringing your yacht to the GCC is a smooth, clear and effective process.
Paris Baloumis, Group Marketing Manager at Oceanco, Maarten Janssen, Sales Director at Feadship and Giordano Pellacani, Head of Sales and Marketing at Riva Yachts spoke as a collective panel on “How is the Superyacht industry marketing to Gen Y?”. This group spoke about the evolving landscape of marketing within the superyacht industry to a new generation through social media. and creating meaningful and genuine experiences throughout the production process.