Last week’s Abu Dhabi International Boat Show attracted around 21,123 visitors

“The inaugural edition of the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show (ADIBS) 2018 ended on a high note, reinforcing the opportunity for the marine sector in Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for marine tourism,” said the organiser, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), at the close of the show on Saturday.

The four-day event attracted 21,123 local, regional and international visitors with 270 exhibitors from 25 countries taking part, including overseas and UAE manufacturers of luxury yachts.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, group CEO of ADNEC, said: “The inaugural edition of ADIBS far exceeded our expectations with the number of visitors over the four days. Several deals were also signed during the show, reflecting the high interest in the UAE’s leisure marine industry.

“This first-of-its-kind event has taken its place as one of the leading platforms in the Middle East for the world’s prominent leisure marine companies and watersports enthusiasts to come together and witness the best that the UAE capital has to offer.”

He added: “The show highlights Abu Dhabi’s position as an ideal destination for such an industry event to take place. ADNEC is pleased to have successfully hosted and organised such a major event, emphasising its contribution in making Abu Dhabi the regional capital of business tourism and consolidates the global trust in our developed venues and facilities. We have proved we are capable of hosting leading international events and reinforcing our support to the government’s development and diversification agenda.

“I would like to thank our partners, sponsors, supporting entities and the media who contributed to the success of ADIBS and the positive impact it has had on Abu Dhabi’s luxury yachts and leisure marine industry.”

During the show, IBI spoke to John Bush, managing director of Bush & Noble – a regional yacht broker with headquarters in the UAE. The company exhibited two brokerage yachts at the show.

“It’s good to see a government-backed boat show in Abu Dhabi,” said Bush. “The first edition has been very successful and there are definitely good visitor numbers. In terms of the market, the superyacht sector is the most buoyant sector in the UAE with a lot of enquiries before and during the show. Interest in mid-range yachts, however, is slower this year. Internationally the Middle East is becoming more recognised. Gulf Craft has done a lot to increase the visibility of superyachts and boats made in the UAE.”

“Sales of larger yachts over 70ft in length are better than the smaller yachts,” said Bruno Meier, chief operating officer of Art Marine. The company, which exhibited a Riva 100 at the show, represents the Ferretti Group brands in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Our marina management business Art Marinas is doing very well with eight marinas under our management,” he said. “Once again, larger yacht berths have a greater take-up than the smaller berths.”

ADIBS witnessed the launch of some new locally made boats. Emirates Riviera Company unveiled a flybridge version of its RCAT50 and Emirates Boats displayed its first fully carbon, epoxy-infused, 48ft centre-console fishing boat. From overseas, the Monte Carlo MC6 and the Princess 55 made their first Middle East appearances.

The inaugural edition of the show was supported by several official sponsors and strategic partners from local and international organisations, including Abu Dhabi Ports, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, and the Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA).