Dubai Yachting Conference

Dubai yachting conference addresses key issues

Dubai yachting conference addresses key issues, both industry and regional

8 mins read

Dubai Yachting Conference HE Saeed Modh HarebAs a part of the annual Dubai International Boat Show calendar, the Dubai Yachting Conference is held the day before the show opens. As with previous editions of this event, its various presentations and panels addressed both local issues and those currently affecting the yachting industry.

This year’s edition attracted some 200 delegates and before getting into the serious topics an welcoming address was given by HE Saeed Modh Hareb, the long-standing senior advisor to the Dubai International Boat Show.

Supporting this was a presentation by Trixie LohMirmand, executive VP at the Dubai World Trade Centre and leader of the DIBS organising team, which highlighted the many aspects and achievements of Dubai as being an international city and centre for doing business.

Entitled ‘Horizon Scan’ the opening panel of the yachting conference focused in on the creation of a new yacht cruising area taking the eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea including the many new developments underway in Saudi Arabia and the plans of Egypt to expand its yacht tourism activities plus the GCC nations and the Indian Ocean locations of the Seychelles and Maldives.

The panel, moderated by Martin Redmayne of the Superyacht Group included Yousuf Lootah, Action CEO of Corporate Strategy & Performance at the Dubai Department of Economy & Tourism, Guillermo Canellas Vears, the Head of Asset Management , NEOM, Hamra Mustafa, COO at Port Rashid DP World and Figen Ayan, Chief Port Officer of Galatransport Istanbul and President of MedCruise.

The core objective behind the various developments underway in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba plus the growth of yachting facilities in the GCC is the ambition that this region plus the beautiful Indian Ocean islands, is that can become an alternative winter cruising area rather than yachts going as traditionally from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.

Dubai Yachting Conference

As one example the Neom City area which covers the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia and includes such as the Line City and Sindalah Island, will have at least half a dozen marinas by 2030 at various locations, Sindalah which is being developed as a luxury yachting destination and be able to accommodate superyachts up to 150 metres, is due to open later this year.

Each of the yachting conference panel speakers gave answers to a series of questions from Redmayne about plans and developments and their views about the overall plan. Redmayne suggested a timeframe for making the new wintering region a reality would be an option going forward.

Sustainability and going green was covered by the second panel which reviewed developments in the yachting market such as those by Sunreef Yachts and its eco-friendly models and Burgess Yachts working through a number of specific partnerships such as the one it has with the Blue Ocean Foundation.

Moderated by Sophianna Bergonzi, Founder of Yachtillywood Media in Monaco, included Anastazia Kociolkowska, Business Development Manager for Burgess Yachts; Artur Poloczranski, Public Relations Director for Sunreef Yachts and Michael Stusch, Executive Chairman and CEO iof H2-Enterprises Group Inc.

How new developments and technology plus the impact on the yachting sector of social media were covered by the following two panels and how these changes should be applied to marketing strategies for companies in the boating sector.

These two yachting conference panels were respectively entitled;
Cruising into Success: Innovative Strategies in the Luxury yachting Industry in the region and
– In Dialogue; Influence Wave

second panel

Key aspects of the first panel addressed included the particular requirements needed to create a luxury feel for the yachting market in the Middle East; the application of the latest technology and the impacts it can have, the growing influence and part played by social media and other developments such as the chartering of catamarans.

The significance of social media across all aspects of the yacht market be it chartering, brokerage for sale and purchase, new builds, crews and marketing of services and products.

In a second panel hosted by Redmayne under the title of ‘ Turning Point – Metamorphosis of the Ultra High Net Worth Mindset: Changing with the Times’, the current and future changes in ownership patterns; new attitudes to yacht builds in terms of materials and fuels used reflecting more concern about sustainability and the part a yacht plays in the lifestyle of wealthy people were talked about.

This yachting conference panel included Abeer Al-Shaali, the Deputy Managing Director of Gulf Craft Group; Dr Rainer Behne, Chairman of BehNeMar Yachting, Jonathan Hind, Managing Director Burgess in the Middle East and Michael Breman, Sales Director of Lurssen.

In the penultimate session issues such as infrastructure in marinas and the requirement for new berths such as in the UAE where an influx of yachts has been seen and how yachts need to be kept in top condition through refits and redesign in order the maintain valuations as high as possible and keep the attraction of yachts high especially for charter vessels.

The panelists for this session were Wayne Shepard the Director (Marinas) for Dubai Harbour Marinas, and Luc Khaldoun Executive Director JV & Advisory Services, Cruise Saudi.

Luca D'Ambrosio

The end of the compact and intense half day yachting conference event, saw Luca D’Ambrosio, Founder of The International Yachting Media moderating a panel session which was entitled ‘Transforming Luxury Yachting with Advanced Technology: Catching up with the AI Phenomenon’. The four-strong panel provided a good airing of how AI is already influencing the yacht market and how it may do so more in the future including a degree of uncertainty as to how wide that impact may be.

The four panellists were Dr Marien Nasraoui, R&D Director of Nanotechnology, ChromaMe Air & Surface Nano Tech; Tommy Lexen, Managing Director & Executive Creative Director, Immersive International, Jeroen van den Hurk, CEO Van Berge Henegouwen and Captain Sahar Rasti, CEO of SJR Group. Rasti is one of the few female captains in the region.

The event crammed a lot into a short time but that approach while covering the growth did not unfortunately give time for questions which likely would have added value to the event. Maybe a full day conference could be an answer to that issue.