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Booming Qatari marine leisure market boosts participation at DIBS

Qatar’s leisure boat industry has witnessed exceptional interest from local and international clients following the notable upsurge in tourism activity and the exciting new openings of waterfront developments seen in recent years. Qatar’s fast-growing developments will witness the release of an initial 400 marina berths this year, through the phased opening of the multibillion dollar Pearl-Qatar. Once completed, the Pearl-Qatar will boast an international yachting hub with three marinas, berthing over 700 boats and driving a guaranteed demand for leisure boats from investors worldwide.

The Al Khor and Wakra developments close to Doha Bay will also set the stage for Qatar’s marine industry boom, with added marina facilities and extra berth space for boat owners.

Qatari boat dealers and distributors are introducing greater numbers of high performance and luxury watercraft to cater for the demand, as well as securing their participation at industry events like the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), the region’s largest marine event. Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) DIBS will take place at Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi from 11-15 March 2008.

Making its mark as a leading global business and travel destination, Qatar’s population growth is expected to increase in the next few years to the tune of 5.3 per cent per year to reach 2.3 million people by 2015, based on Qatar’s Permanent Population Committee’s 2007 statistics. As a result, this growth has also contributed to the demand in marine leisure activity as people look to buy more watercraft.

“We look forward to welcoming our Qatari exhibitors to this year’s Dubai International Boat Show and as long term supporters of the event, we are confident they will find great value in this year’s show. As DIBS continues to build up its position as a must-see event in the calendar of the world’s biggest boat shows, these exhibiting companies will be able to benefit by increasing their business, meeting valued clients, and networking with potential customers from across the region,” said Helen Wynd, Project Manager, Dubai International Boat Show.

DIBS is a suitable platform for prospective Qatari buyers to explore the market, where manufacturers from across the globe will unveil their latest designs and concepts and showcase their widest ever range of boats, equipment and products.

One of the local companies benefiting from the boom is Doha-based Al Fardan Marine, which has seen sales of motor yachts increase over 300% during the previous three years.

“Qatar is fast becoming a leading marine hub in the region and this growth is reflected by the large number of watercraft being bought on a regular basis, from local residents to international buyers,” said Mr. Fadi Al Yousfi, General Manager, Al Fardan Marine.

The international investors purchasing watercraft in Qatar come from many countries, including Britain, France, Germany and the USA, as well as new markets like Russia, India and the CIS for whom DIBS is the first point of call.

“There has always been a significant demand for leisure boats in Qatar but with the limited berth space availability, most of the interest never materialised. As the new waterfront developments reach completion, we are certain Qatar will further build on its position as one of the most desirable boating locations in the world. By exhibiting at the Dubai International Boat Show, we are able to meet and network with so many new customers from around the world,” continued Mr. Al Yousfi.

Doha-based Allied Qatari Contracting and Trading Group, the regional agents for MasterCraft boats, is a regular exhibitor at DIBS and this year will once again be showcasing a top-class range of ski, wakeboard and luxury performance powerboats.

“Year-on-year we have witnessed a hefty growth in Qatar’ marine industry with our customer base spanning all corners of the globe. At MasterCraft we have seen an impressive increase in sales across our entire portfolio, with many of these sales being placed at the Dubai International Boat Show,” said Amr Selim, General Manager of Allied Qatar Contracting and Trading Group.

DIBS will this year welcome over 800 exhibitors from nearly 50 countries including up to 400 boats, the highest number since the show was launched in 1992. Companies from every part of the industry, from boat-builders through to marine equipment, suppliers and service providers, are set to showcase their latest products and services.