Middle East Yachting Conference 2018 Roundup

By Catriona Cherrie

The Middle East Yacht Conference 2018 came together on the 22nd of November to explore the future of luxury yachts alongside the requirements of the 21st century. A group of regional and international experts and industry leaders looked into key emerging trends and future prospects for the luxury yacht industry at the local and regional levels. Apart from highlighting trends over the past decade, the 12th edition gave the attendees a platform to discuss ways to enhance confidence in the Middle East’s luxury yacht industry through relevant marketing strategies.

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. 

By Catriona Cherrie
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