Groupe Beneteau president and CEO Hervé Gastinel today revealed ambitious plans to develop the group’s activities in the Middle East. On the opening day of the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), with 12 Groupe Beneteau boats on display – the largest display ever by the group in Dubai – Gastinel and business development director Francois Rodrigues spent time with IBI to outline the team’s strategy to grow the brand in the region.

“Our display at the Dubai International Boat Show is designed to show our serious intent to enter the Middle East market and build our brand identity in the region, which is currently not strong,” said Gastinel. “When I took over my role as president and CEO with Beneteau in 2015, I established transformation committees with the objective of thinking out of the box. I have termed this ‘Transform to Perform’.

“My team, including Francois Rodrigues who also takes the role of international sales coordinator, identified the Middle East as a key market to focus on and felt that we should launch our strategy by exhibiting as a group at DIBS rather than a collection of different brands. Our intention is that we are in the Middle East market for the long haul and this will include modifying our boats to meet the local market requirements where necessary.”

Francois Rodrigues told IBI that Beneteau has built up a strong share of the sailboat market in the Middle East over the past 20 years. “We hope to build on that with our powerboat brands and models which are mainly outboard-powered. We have to build up our distribution network across the Middle East region and improve communication links with the market.”

Beneteau’s plans for the Middle East will be covered in more depth in the June/July issue of the magazine.