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Dubai International Boat Show opened its gates

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, inaugurated the 16th Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) – Mina Seyahi.

Following the opening ceremony, His Highness toured the event, which this year attracted over a record-breaking 800 exhibiting companies from 48 countries. Taking place from 11 – 15 March 2008, this year’s show will be 20 percent bigger than last year.

Billed as the largest marine event ever held in the Middle East, the show saw record numbers of visitors on its first day.

“The response from both visitors and exhibitors has been extremely strong this year, with many international attendees saying that the event is now firmly among the world’s best marine events,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of Dubai International Boat Show 2008.

The first day of the show also saw a number of major boat and yacht sales, reinforcing Dubai International Boat Show’s position as a key event where business is done and sales are made. Early sales registered include local companies like Al Masood MTU, which closed a deal to sell MTU 16V 2000 M93 engines worth 1.6 million Euros within the first hour of the show’s opening.

The deal sees Al Masood MTU supply the engines that will power two of Gulf Craft’s latest Majesty 121 feet mega-yachts.

The show is divided into four main areas, all of which have seen significant growth: the On-Water Area, the Luxury Supplies and Services Area, the External Area, and the Equipment Supplies and Services Area.

The show this year will feature the largest ever On-Water display, with a total of 158 boats and yachts – an 11 percent increase, as well as 238 throughout the rest of the exhibition.

Taking pride of place will be 10 multi-million dollar superyachts on display, including the 38-metre Sheleila, presented by Edmiston and Co.

The Luxury Supply and Services (LSS) section has grown by over 38 percent, bringing DIBS’ total net size to 24,000 sq m on land.

Running alongside DIBS, the Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX) 2008 brings together the leading names from the world of dive equipment, supplies and services. The event, which has grown by over 100 percent for 2008, has become a natural meeting point for diving enthusiasts in the Middle East. DIBS will also see the launch of a new section for Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs), Inflatables and Tenders, one of the fastest-growing sectors in the marine leisure industry.