Superyachts & the UAE, a Simultaneously Growing Relationship

Superyachts, an epitome of luxury and affluence, are by definition, a yacht over 24 metres (79 feet) in length. (That’s roughly about the length of a tennis court!)  They can be powered by motor or sail and require dedicated staff such as engineers, captains and stewards.  The growing extravagance offered by a superyacht has given birth to new terms that align to the growing size and features of superyachts.  Extra luxurious yachts exceeding 100m+ in length are identified as ‘megayachts’ or ‘gigayachts’.

Currently 5001 superyachts ply the oceans and seas around the globe. – The Superyacht Report

The Middle East holds a lot of promise with regards to the growth and demand of superyachts. Infact, 1 in 8 superyachts are owned by HNWIs in the Middle East. What is further abetting the growing interest in the superyacht industry is the flourishing marine industry, especially in the UAE.

The Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries reports that the total maritime industry in the UAE is worth more than USD 61 billion. In addition to superyacht popularity, the luxury leisure market is also a growing segment amongst Middle Eastern countries, with a rise in purchases of marine accessories, products, services and gadgets.

The United Arab Emirates’ growth within the maritime industry stems from 1894, when H.H Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum made Dubai tax-free for trade, allowing it to become the principal port on the coast. Today the UAE contributes to 35% of the Middle East’s projected investment in the marine industry and ranks 9th amongst the most productive superyacht manufacturers.

While UAE ranks in the top 10 among superyacht manufacturers two of the most opulent superyachts ever produced are owned by the President and Vice President of UAE respectively, testament to the fact that superyachts and the Emiratis have a long standing relationship that will strengthen further in the future.

There are a total of 1275 individuals in the UAE and Abu Dhabi combined who have the wealth to invest in luxurious leisure. Their cumulated worth adds up to $255 billion.

One of the two most expensive, elegant and exuberant yachts is owned by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.  His private superyacht named ‘Ázzam’ is worth $650 million and is considered one of the fastest, clocking speeds of 35 mph.

Ultra High Net Worth Individuals of the world, (net worth ranging $30 million and above) spend $20 billion every year building, chartering and sailing superyachts.  – Forbes

Another masterpiece is the superyacht owned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The superyacht named ‘Dubai’ is worth $350 million. The yacht’s few striking features are the capacity to accommodate 115 crew members, an expansive area for VIPs to sunbathe and a helipad that can sustain a 9.5 ton helicopter.

According to Boat International’s 2016 Global Order Book, 755 superyachts of 24 metres or longer are on order this year, up from 734 in 2015.

The Middle East has already been identified as a prominent location for the launch of luxury products. It is no wonder then, that it holds a lot of promise with regards to the growth and demand of superyachts.

The 7th edition of Big Boys Toys is set to be held from 23rd to 26th November 2016 at ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre), Abu Dhabi.  This eagerly awaited, one of its kind premier luxury, innovation and technology expo is the top networking destination for both buyers and exhibitors of super yachts.   With an expected footfall of 20,000 visitors and HNWI visiting the expo, Big Boys Toys is the perfect place for superyacht manufacturers to showcase their custom built luxurious boats and catch the keen eye of the uber-rich from the Middle East.


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